Well, it's happened! The city has transformed into the arctic wind tunnels that chill you to the bone. Thankfully, we have hot bowls of ramen to keep us warm! For stop #3 on our Great New York Ramen Tour we landed at Nakamura in the Lower East Side!
Here's our rating out of 5:
We originally tried to go two weeks ago on a Sunday, but discovered that Sunday is the only day they aren't open... So, for take two we picked a week day and headed for the Williamsburg Bridge. Like most ramen shops it's a tiny space, tucked away in an unassuming spot that in this case is right next to the bridge. Once you enter, the giant lighted Nakamura sign above the kitchen leaves no doubt about where you are.
We were pleasantly surprised to find that there was no wait for a party of five, which is unusual at tiny shops, even for a weekday. Nakamura is a relatively new shop from Japanese chef Shigetoshi "Jack" Nakamura. It opened in January of 2016. Their menu has a great selection of appetizers such as the miso cucumber and yuzu chicken wings, which were excellent. They also have an unusual array of ramens!
Their Torigara is the most traditional ramen that they serve. It's a combination of torigara - chicken carcass Soup (I know, sounds really appetizing, just think of it as chicken stock), gyokai - fish stock, and the more common shoyu. This combination creates a broth that is packed with umami flavor and is very light. Everyone else was a fan of the broth, but I wasn't as thrilled; it reminded me of Jimmy Dean Sage sausage. I know that's random, but that's what it tasted like to me. Just know that everyone else thought I was nuts, and they didn't think it tasted like that at all! The noodles were top notch with just the right amount of chewiness, which isn't surprising since Nakamura partnered with Sun Noodles. We love egg in our ramen so of course we added an ajitama egg, (which as far as I can tell is the same as a nitamago egg, but more research needs to be done on this topic). It was cooked very well, but the yolk could have been a tad more runny, and it was a bit under seasoned for my taste. The rest of the toppings didn't really stand out. They were pretty traditional - scallions, nori, menma, kamaboko, and chashu. The chashu was the most disappointing part of the bowl. It was considerably more fatty and thin than I like it to be, which could have been fine if it improved the flavor, but it was less flavorful than other chashu that I've eaten.
Truffle Miso Ramen
The Truffle Miso Ramen debuted in October and is Nakamura's newest ramen. It's one of the few vegan ramens that I've seen, and is topped with a seasonal mushroom mix, cauliflower, scallions and beansprouts, and not being vegan myself, I of course I added an ajitama egg. The broth has a very complex earthy flavor, and is supercharged with truffle oil! If you're a truffle fan, THEN YOU WILL LOVE THIS RAMEN! If you're not a truffle fan, THEN YOU WILL HATE THIS RAMEN! There is no mistaking the truffles; the bowl is bursting at the seams with it's buttery goodness. Take another look at the picture and you can see the oil! The assorted mushrooms pair perfectly with the earthy theme, and the cauliflower provided a meaty texture to give the bowl some substance. At first, I was concerned it wouldn't be filling enough without adding a meat, but it was so rich I almost couldn't finish it! I probably could have even skipped the egg. It was definitely a bit indulgent, and not a ramen you would want to eat everyday, but I will definitely be eating it again!
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172 Delancey St, New York, NY 10002
grew up as a nomad, and currently calls New York home. When he's not slurping noodles he's editing stuff for TV. He's a quarter Japanese and has been using chopsticks since he can remember. His go to ramen order: Spicy shoyu with wavy noodles.