Ramen Zundo-Ya: NYC’s Ramen Riches Grow Even Greater In The East Village
What a glorious time to be a noodle head in New York City! All of our usual excellent ramen joints are bustling, with slurpers packing in nightly at spots such as Ivan Ramen, Totto Ramen, Ramen Lab, Ippudo, Jin Ramen, and Mu Ramen, to name just a few. And out of nowhere, just in the past few weeks, two brand-new, world-class ramen-yas opened in the East Village and Lower East Side. About the first, Mr. Taka Ramen on Allen Street, I'll just say that you should go now, because everything's terrific and the chef's Tokyo spot was named one of that city's best by the folks at Michelin AND the secret's out, so it's soon going to be mobbed. The other new restaurant is also first-rate, called Ramen Zundo-ya on East 10th Street, and it's serving one of the most insanely dense and rich Tonkatsu broths in town. Zundo-ya has received less hype, so you can still walk in anytime and get a seat. For now. Here's the whole scoop…
Welcome To Ramen Zundo-Ya
Zundo-ya is a direct import from the ramen motherland, Japan, where owner Tatsuya Hashimoto currently manages more than a dozen shops. This East Village Zundo-ya is Hashimoto's first venture outside of his native country… and he chose a location literally right around the corner from Ippudo, owned by his friend and mentor Shigetoshi Nakamura. This is likely a smart strategic move, as Ippudo, even after all these years, still routinely has 90-minute waits on a weekday night, and once people learn they can get a terrific bowl of noodles just a few steps away with no wait, well… the choice is pretty obvious to me, anyway.
What To Eat at Zuno-Ya
I ate at Zundo-ya twice during its opening week which, given its short, focused menu, is plenty of meals to know that this place is really good. Or, at least, the main event, the Tonkotsu Ramen (offered with a variety of different toppings), is outstanding. You can choose your level of richness, which they regulate by adding a little or a lot of pork back fat to the soup. I went with "Super Rich", and it was incredible. You felt like you should be chewing the broth. The other kind of ramen here, the Wafu, which features a lighter chicken and fish stock, is less exciting. By the way the noodles are made by Sun, which means they are delicious, and the kitchen does not mess them up. Of the two starters I ate, the Kaarage fried chicken was the clear winner over the deep fried dumplings, the bird juicy and assertive, the exterior coating nice and crisp.
For Menu and Information on Ramen Zundo-Ya
Ramen Zundo-ya is located at 84 East 10th Street between Third and Fourth Avenues, and is open daily from 11:30 to 2:30 for lunch, and from 5:30 to 190:30 for dinner.