I've heard wayyy too much about this place, from The New York Times to Wall Street Journal, I'm persuaded to book a ONE WAY ticket to New York for their ramen. Let's see what is all the hype about? Can it live up to my favorite ramen joint, Santouka, located in Orange County and New Jersey? OH AND... if you are wondering about Ippudo, NO! I didn't get a chance to go there YET! It was the most depressing day when I had to choose between missing out on my sister's graduation (in Kentucky) or missing out on Ippudo (in New York)! It was a tough choice, but FAMILY goes first, then Food...
Anyways, Let's start my LONGEST JOURNEY / WALK / WAIT AT ....
Because Totto Ramen was only 0.7 mile from my friend's house, I decided to walk and to explore New York! Well...guess what... we got sidetracked by an annually FOOD FAIR!
Thai food was so cheap! 1-3 dollars for everything here
Yummmyy... roasted chicken and beef on charcoal grills
OH OKAY! I was supposed to eat RAMEN! BUT got so ADD-ish by the food fair,
so had to stop and tried some food from the street vendors :]
After escaping the food fair *phew*, I found myself in another trap!Three black men werehustling tourists to buy their fake Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Prada, and etc...
Finally! After 30 minutes or 40 minutes of my ADD-ness, we had finally arrived! But the LONG LINES looked so intimidating from far way! I was there roughly 30 minutes after the store opened! And I still had to wait for almost 2 hours! WTF right? TIPS: This place opens at 12pm, go here at 11:40am to beat the crowd! Don't worry, it's not weird to come early cuz long lines begin to form at 11:50-ish am :]
Their menu is small! BUT I rather have quality over quantity.
Avo Tuna アボツナ: Torched tuna sashimi w/ avocado marinated in special yuzu garlic sauce.
Reading all the Yelp reviews and recommendations, this was one of the MUST -TRY ITEMS! I thought it was A-OKAY! But it was very tasty for a ramen joint, but I had better tuna dishes at Sushi places. Try it though!!! Trust me, it won't be disappoint!! REMEMBER: torched items are prone to skin cancer! Eating this once in a while is okay, but not every day! Ratings [ 4.0 /5 ]
Char Siu Chunks ぶつ切りチャーシュー
Chunks of Char Siu (braised pork belly) over bean sprouts with 1/2 cut of Seasoned Boiled Egg
SO GOOD!!!!! I would totally wait 2 hours for this! This is a MUST TRY item on my list! So delicious... Ratings [ 5/ 5]
Original Rayu, Spicy Sesame Oil, adds a spicy kick and refreshing aftertaste to our original Paitan ramen.Topped with scallion, char siu pork, bean sprouts, and nori.
Ratings [ 4.2 / 5 ]
Ratings [ 4.2 / 5 ]
The finest Koji Miso and ground pork in a scoop atop slightly wavy noodles in original Paitan soup. Topped with a seasoned hardboiled egg, scallion, bean sprouts, onion and char siu pork. Ratings [4 /5 ]
In conclusion, it's hard to compare Santouka to Totto because they are so different! Santouka uses pork base, while Totto uses chicken broth base! So it's like comparing an apple to a strawberry! Yes, they are both fruits, but they are different in taste. And some people prefer apples over strawberries and vice versa. So it's all about preferences in this case. Both ramen noodles are cooked and perfected by "real" Japanese chefs!!!! However, I have to admit Totto's Char Siu Chunks have more fat+flavor than Santouka's! But Santouka's eggs are much better! It was a tough choice, but in the end, there can only be one winner! And if I really really have to pick, I would prefer Santouka because the "pork" soup base is more fulfilling and is slightly better tasting than Totto's