Guest post by Ikai Lan
I love ramen. Ever since declaring Ippudo the Best Of Show in New York City, I’ve been looking for worthy runners up. (So far, #2 in my opinion is the standard ramen at Bassanova, but that’s another story for another time).
Jin Ramen, a hop, skip and a jump away on the uptown 1 train, has been one I’ve been hearing about, both from friends as well as the standard NYC food blogs (as well as some not-so-standard blogs). I decided to check it out.
At best average. Not worth the trek or the $12.
The storefront has friendly exterior decor, and they have a sister restaurant, Kissaten, next door.
When you walk in, you’re greeted with calls of irrasshaimase, though you won’t get a shout from every in the restaurant as you might at Ippudo.
I sat down and ordered the tonkotsu ramen. This is usually the standard I go by when checking out a new ramen place as a baseline. It arrived quickly.
Aesthetically, pretty standard. I took a bite, and … was disappointed. It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t as great as I had hoped. The bar had been set too high! The broth did not have that fatty richness that I have come accustomed to expecting from a tonkotsu. The noodles had an aroma that exhibited all the complexities of … salt, with a standard fare texture. Just to be sure, I ordered the kaedama (extra noodles), and, while a bit more al dente because the broth had cooled somewhat and could not cook the noodles anymore, tasted the same. The pork was good, but not great, and one of the better parts of the composition, as everything else was average at best. I’m not going to ever turn down a boiled egg in my noodle soup, but it just wasn’t standout, whereas the nitamago at Ippudo always, always give my taste buds a party.
At the end of it, the bill was $15 and change. Not expensive, but, and I’m sure this is my living in New York City breaking my sense of what things should cost, not a good deal. I didn’t break the bank, but I did spend $15 on an average meal when I could have spent that money, time and empty stomach on something truly delicious instead.
New York, NY 10027
b/t Tiemann Pl & 125th St in Harlem
Neighborhoods: Morningside Heights, Harlem
Ikai Lan is an occasional guest author for The Culture Bite. Though he loves both to eat as well as write, he finds that writing a real post takes a larger block of time than he is generally able to free up. He resides in New York City, though he’s been known to surface here and there on a whim.