To me, an umami bowl of ramen consists of the following:
1. Broth that tastes like it’s been simmering for hours if not days.
2. Noodles that are chewy yet soft but in the way that it’s been cooked and sitting in its own wetness for some time.
3. All the other accoutrements of the soup—the sliced pork, hard boiled egg, seaweed, etc. It’s never about quantity as much as it’s about quality.
Of course, it goes without saying that a bowl of ramen also gets better when alcohol is involved, and eating and drinking in a place that possesses the proper ramen-shop ambience—small, steamy from the nonstop cooking, and loud.
Anyway, I had a great time at Totto Ramen in Hell’s Kitchen last week despite a terribly long wait (note to self: the restaurant does not accomodate parties four or more). I kind of had to ditch my ramen “checklist” that night after three rounds of sake but I can confidently say that I left the restaurant a little red in the cheeks, feeling full and sweaty.
Dinner Pairing: How to Dress Well - Lover’s Start. Brooklyn artist making shoegazey R&B. Kind of euphoric—accurately depicts that moment when you’ve had your last bite of ramen and then washing it all down with liquor.