Totto Ramen opened in the summer of 2010, right in the heat of what we'll call "The Great Ramen Awakening." First we had Momofuku, then we had Ippudo, then came Totto Ramen followed by about 20 other places, and now I'm pretty sure you can get tonkotsu lattes at Starbucks.
Our initial review at the time had us singing the praises of Totto's arrival in Midtown West. Now we're here to update you with important news: It's still really f*cking good.
If you aren't yet familiar, Totto's style of ramen lies somewhere in between the porky excessiveness of Ippudo and the basic, hangover curing magic of more traditional spots like Rai Rai Ken. It's a chicken-based broth as opposed to pork, and the noodles are thin. It all feels pretty authentic, and it's always satisfying - especially if you can hit it for lunch.
But before you round up a crew from the office for some slurping, be aware that this location of Totto is packed pretty much all of the time. Waits for two are usually at least 45 minutes, and tables of three and four probably should not be attempted during any normal meal hours. There is, however, frequent availability for a single stool at the bar, so [perfect_for slug =“dining-solo”]Dining Solo[/perfect_for] will definitely give you an advantage in this situation. Find a book that you can pretend to be reading, and maybe someone will think you're interesting.
As we said, Totto Ramen's soups are a bit different than some of the other ramen joints around town, because the broth is chicken based rather than pork based. We love a big bowl of simmered pig, but the chicken broth has a slightly different flavor, and it's delicious. The homemade noodles are also excellent, and we add an additional serving of pork just to be extra ridiculous. You should too.
The Chicken Paitan Ramen, but with some heat. We prefer this to the regular version, but know that it will definitely make you sweat. There is an "Extreme Spicy Ramen" as well, but you probably don't want to be reliving this meal for several days.
An excellent miso ramen, if that's your scene. We prefer the other two options, but we did like the fact that the you can stir in as much miso as you like in this situation.
The "house specialty" pork, this is what you'll find floating in your ramen, but on a plate and served with a yuzu mayonnaise. I guess this is Totto's answer to the pork bun? By no means does it suck, but we just don't feel it's a must order for your table. Stick to noodles and maybe some edamame.