In case you haven't noticed, there's a lot of ramen in this town. Some of it's good, some of it's great, and some of it is barely a step above the instant stuff. With winter setting in, two of Gothamist editors got into a heated debate over who makes the best bowl in town. What do you think?
Ippudo's ramen (Flickr user Gabriel Li)
Ippudo: Since it opened in 2008 the lines have been out the door at Ippudo, a Japanese chain whose sold outpost in the States is located on Fourth Avenue in the East Village, and with good reason. If you can handle the wait (no reservations here!) the ramen will blow your mind. And if you find the noodles a bit too al dente, well, just let them rest a little longer in one of the restaurant's delicious, thick and porky broths (they make it by cooking pork bones for over 15 hours). Our only real gripe with the place—well, besides the waiting—is the fact that they won't let you take your leftovers to go. Those bowls are big! (Garth Johnston)
Noodles: A — but we like our noodles on the firmer side
Broth: A+ — best in town
Toppings: A — the soft boiled egg sometimes approaches boiled but otherwise they've got it all.
Pro Tip: Go for the cheaper lunch specials when the lines are much more manageable.
Hide-Chan's Hakata kuro ramen (via Yelp)
Look, I think Ippudo makes a great ramen. But I just cannot handle the lines, and the pumping music and the vaguely futuristic decor once you're finally inside. I am old and cranky, and I want my ramen in peace. Which it why I go to Hide-Chan in Midtown East. It's not super-sexy, but they make a serious bowl of soup, including one variety that I've yet to see at any other ramen restaurant in the city: Hakata kuro (black garlic). It's a bowl of deliciously fatty, salty tonkotsu pork broth turned pitch-black with a swirl of charred black garlic oil. Bring Altoids. (Jamie Feldmar)
Noodles: A-. They're thin, firm, and made fresh every day at sister restaurant Soba Totto. Excellent slurp-ability.
Broth: A. The plain tonkotsu and shoyu aren't quite as nuanced as Ippudo's, but the black garlic oil in the Hakata kuro kicks ass.
Toppings: B. This is where Hide-Chan lags a bit. The chashu pork can border on flaccid, and sometimes there's too much scallion. But the kikurage mushrooms are solid.
Pro Tip: You can specify how firm you'd like your noodles cooked when you order—go on the firmer side, then let them soften as you slurp.