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photo credit: Okiboru House of Tsukemen

Okiboru House of Tsukemen image
8.2

Okiboru House of Tsukemen

Ramen

Lower East Side

$$$$Perfect For:Casual Weeknight DinnerDining SoloLunchQuick Eats
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If you see a line of people on the sidewalk around Orchard and Delancey, it’s probably for Okiboru. Even if you’re not in the mood for ramen, go ahead and join. Once you have some of the broth and noodles at this place, you’ll quickly get in the mood.

Most of the space at this Lower East Side restaurant, which also has a few locations in Georgia, is taken up by the open kitchen with bubbling and steaming cauldrons of broth and giant ladles hanging all over the place. The room fits about 20, and only cramped counter seating is available, so you’ll get to hear everything going on in your neighbor’s life as you eat one of the two types of ramen offered here.

Okiboru House of Tsukemen image

photo credit: Okiboru House of Tsukemen

The namesake tsukemen comes with udon-like cold noodles that you dip in a warm, concentrated broth that tastes like it’s made with a million bonito flakes. If dipping seems like too much trouble, opt for the tontori ramen. It's just as good as the tsukemen and is made with a super rich, milky broth that'll immediately conjure images of pork bones in your head. Every bowl comes with a choice of incredibly moist chicken or chashu that tastes like it’s been cooked for a hundred hours. The right move is to get both for a small upcharge.

Everything about this place seems designed to get you in and out as briskly as possible, so the line moves fast. You’ll get your food minutes after you order—which you do entirely on your phone. (No one’s swiping credit cards or taking cash here.) They don’t even serve alcohol or dessert, so once you’re done with your bowl, there’s really nothing to do other than leave.

Sure, you could come here with a friend or two, but hitting up this place solo so you can give your undivided attention to the broth and noodles is the better way to go. As soon as you get in the door, you’ll feel like you’re in a meeting for a secret society of ramen enthusiasts. We overheard someone enthusiastically ask a total stranger: “How was it?” Response: “It was bomb.” We agree.

Food Rundown

Okiboru House of Tsukemen image

photo credit: Okiboru House of Tsukemen

Tsukemen

The tsukemen’s gravy-like chicken-and-fish broth is so concentrated that we don’t recommend slurping it like soup. Instead, pick up some of the thick, chewy, and cold noodles and dip about two-thirds of them into the broth (no drenching) for the most balanced bites. Squeeze some lime in to cut the saltiness. For $1 extra, you can get a side of chili paste—it definitely has some kick, so a little goes a long way. If it’s your first time at Okiboru, you should order this bowl.

Okiboru House of Tsukemen image

photo credit: Okiboru House of Tsukemen

Tontori Ramen

Just because “tsukemen” is in the name of this place doesn’t mean the tontori ramen is inferior in any way. The fatty and creamy broth is made with both chicken and pork, and the thin, house-made noodles have an ideal firm texture. We get that your default order might be the tsukemen. Makes sense. Just make sure to get this ramen when you come back.

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FOOD RUNDOWN

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