Mon-Fri, noon-midnight; Sat, noon-11pm; Sun, 5pm-11pm
C, E at 50th St.; 1 at 50th St.
In the upper reaches of Hell’s Kitchen where solid dining starts to thin out, Totto Ramen’s promise of authentic Japanese noodles can be irresistible. The slate-hued space is cramped and waits can be long, but for generous bowls of core-warming chicken broth teeming with housemade noodles, these compromises are insignificant. Owner Bobby Munekata, of Yakitori Totto and Hide Chan, keeps his menu short: Five soupy choices containing some exciting extras like springy homemade noodles, diagonally-sliced scallion shards, and Koji miso in one option; konbu nori and seasoned avocado in another. The “extreme spicy” bowl allows control over firepower by means of a searing chili paste, added to taste. Fatty slices of char siu pork, whose smoky grilled flavor graces most of the ramens, are paired deliciously with creamy mayo and a ball of vinegary white rice in one of a handful of starters. Behind the bar, where cooks wrap their heads in black towels and sling narrow baskets of noodles in and out of boiling water, you might notice eggs marinating in a dark brown sake-soy liquid; ask to add one to your bowl. Do the same for corn charred with Parmesan cheese, and don’t worry about overwhelming your dish—it’s difficult to disrupt the delicious harmony of these satisfyingly rustic meals.Recommended Dishes
Totto extreme spicy ramen, $11; Totto miso ramen, $11; char siu mayo don, $5.50