By Jessica Laifer
Since Momofuku opened shop in 2004, New York City has been experiencing what some may call a “ramen renaissance”. Ramen bars have popped up all over the city, serving handmade noodles in a rich, satisfying broth, putting their white styrofoam cup counterparts to shame. And New Yorkers can’t get enough of it, as evidenced by the ever-present crowd in front of Ippudo or Totto Ramen, pouring out the door on any given night of the week. We’re not sure what ramen places have against reservations, but we’re certainly willing to wait. Matzo ball soup – you have some competition.
A recent, notable addition to New York’s expanding ramen scene has graced our fair neighborhood, and is mere steps away from campus. Nestled beneath the above-ground 1 train station at 125th St, just a few feet from the entrance, lies the unassuming Jin Ramen. Though it doesn’t look like much from the outside, Jin serves some of the best ramen in the city – comparable to the other big names previously mentioned, but with a relatively minimal wait time (at least until they start making ramen burgers, or Cronuts™). The broth is extremely flavorful, and the noodles, oh the noodles. They are of the perfect texture, thin and springy, yet firm; a far cry from your just-add-water variety. The Tonkotsu ($12) and Miso Ramen ($13) are among the more popular choices, but all of them are good. The appetizers, particularly the Kara-Age ($6), are a worthy addition to your meal, although we found the Steamed Pork Buns ($7 for two buns) to be more appealing on the eyes than the tongue. Service is friendly, but understandably lacking during busier times.
Steamed Pork Buns
While ramen isn’t exactly a superfood, Jin Ramen offers options to make your bowl o’ noodles slightly healthier, setting them apart from most of the other ramen joints. The soups listed on the menu are made with either pork or a chicken/vegetable broth, but can easily be substituted with a seafood or vegetarian broth at no extra charge, finally making ramen friendly to pescatarians and vegetarians. There’s even a spot at the table for the gluten intolerant, as the tasty and surprisingly filling Tofu Salad comes in an entree-sized portion ($8). Being that it is served in the same oversized bowl as the ramen, and with all of the same toppings available to add on, you can create a hearty meal that won’t have you feeling left out among the noodle dishes.
Jin Ramen is owned by the same people as the previously-reviewed Flat Top, and we can’t wait to see what else they bring to the neighborhood. In addition to the location and price point, it also appeals to students with fantastic happy hour deals Monday through Thursday, so you can trade your green juices in for $10 pitchers of Sapporo, if only for the evening.
With the cold weather fast approaching, Jin Ramen is certainly a welcome addition.
Address: 3183 Broadway (between Tiemann Place and 125th St).
Phone: (646) 559-2862
Notes: Reservations not accepted. Happy Hour is Monday-Thursday, 11:30 am-3:30 pm, 5:00-6:30 pm, 9:30 pm-close.
Tofu Salad with Brisket and Bok Choy