NYC Summer 2014 : Totto Ramen
My friend krowr had texted me on her first trip to Totto and proclaimed this her new favorite ramen spot in NYC (supplanting her other favorite which she had gotten me hooked on - Ramen Setagaya). So I dropped by their 52nd Street location (there’s an newer place on 51st to alleviate the congestion at the original 52nd Street location) when I had the chance and lucky for me, I slipped right in at the counter without having to wait.
Totto is known or its paitan or milky chicken broth, and in particular it’s spicy ramen with a house made chili. But first, I ordered their pork bao, which was slathered with a nice amount of Japanese mayonnaise. The pork was delicious but I could have done with less mayo - more my personal preference than anything else, really. In terms of ramen, I ended up ordering their special - spicy “nibo” ramen. I was really impressed with the depth of flavor of the chili - it was floral, and smokey and then spicy. The broth was medium bodied, with a creamy mouth feel, although it was really hard to taste the chicken flavor through all the chilies. Maybe it was the heat, but I would have been happier with a simpler broth. The noodles were very firm and not especially chewy. Maybe I was spoiled from my tsukemen in LA and Tokyo, but I was longing for a little more chew. Although this bowl didn’t quite do it for me, I’m looking forward to returning when the weather is a little cooler and trying the plain paitan broth.