|Totto Spicy Ramen with Corn|
The bearded Hico Oshiro emerges right on time. "Irasshaimase!", he declares to the gathering crowd. "Welcome! Thank you for waiting!" Grabbing the list off the door, he begins to read off names, directing the early ones into his choice of seats as they pass smugly by the jealous stares of the hungry mob. Some will be seated at the three tables in the back; others in the arguably more coveted seats at the bar, where they can chat with the cooks and watch their meals being prepared.
The prize all these people are waiting for is some of the best ramen in New York.
|Totto Miso Ramen with a side of spicy Rayu|
For a first visit to Totto Ramen, I recommend the Totto Spicy Ramen, flavored with spicy rayu and adorned with an array of toppings. The steamy broth and the added heat from the rayu combine to produce the kind of soup that makes your forehead sweat and your nose run. You finish it feeling like you've been cleansed.
|Spicy Tuna Don|
Some of the non-ramen dishes are delicious as well, even if they are not the main event. The tuna don is particularly good, consisting of spicy chopped tuna tartare atop a salad of rice, cucumber and kombu seaweed. I found the stubs soba, a frequent special, to be less successful. It is nicely presented with char siu pork, scallions, corn, egg and wavy noodles, but it contains too much mayo for my tastes.
Totto Ramen doesn't have a large or varied menu, but there is something to be said for doing one thing exceptionally well. And when that thing is hot, soupy noodles, it is hard to ask for anything more. Just make sure to get there by 11:30 for the first seating. It's worth the wait.
Or, if you feel like a bowl of delicious noodle soup without waiting outside, head home and try our recipe for phở.
|Pho Ga from my kitchen|
366 West 52nd Street
Recommended dishes: Spicy Tuna Don ($5.50); Totto Spicy Ramen ($10.75); Totto Miso Ramen ($10.75); Seasoned Avocado ($2).
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