I know it seems like it's been a while since we have had ramen, and it has, so we broke our ramen drought with our 7th stop on the Great New York Ramen Tour - Zundo-Ya Ramen.
Our Rating out of 5:
Ryan and I decided to do a ramen date night and picked Zundo-Ya Ramen. We kept on hearing about it and decided to give it a shot. Zundo-ya is around the corner from the famous Ippudo and is certainly a lot easier to get in - the two of us were able to sit immediately along with a crowd of hungry people.
Ajitama Hot Ramen
The Ajitama Hot Ramen is Zundo-Ya's Spicy Tonkotsu. The Ajitama Ramen has egg, chashu, scallions, and nori. The egg was perfectly seasoned and was very runny. I wish it was a little runnier in my opinion, but Ryan thought that the yolk was cooked exactly right. The chashu pork was rolled and very flavorful. Even though the pork was cut into thin slices it was still very juicy - there might have been slightly too much fat in the pork to fat ratio. Something very interesting about Zundo-ya is that they let you pick how much fatback you have in your tonkotsku broth. The concept sounds either sounds horrifyingly disgusting or reminds you of your love-handles, but actually fatback is fat that is found on the back of the pig (duh) that is a major part of tonkostu broth. Now before you start running away horrified, bacon and sausage are also cuts of fatback from the pig and I am sure many of you are not going to give up bacon any time soon. Long story short, the more fatback, the richer your broth. I went with regular amount of fatback (whatever that means) but they had a light option, a rich option, and a SUPER rich option. Having had the regular option, I thought that the broth was really good and did not seem too fatty. The chili oil that they added to the broth to make it hot definitely gave it the needed kick, but overall it tasted a little too peppery. When I first took a bite, I started to cough from the pepper taste. I do think that the chili oil was critical to the broth either way and definitely elevated the taste of the soup. For noodles, I ordered thick wavy noodles which were definitely not very thick, but still had a good chewiness. They were definitely my favorite part of this bowl. The broth to noodle ratio was a bit off but, I am someone who prefers more broth over noodles. I definitely wouldn't have needed an order of kaedama.
Ryan ordered Zundo-Ya's signature dish, the Zenbunose Ramen. It is a tonkotsu broth with all of the toppings on the menu. This includes, an egg, 4 pieces of chashu, scallions, garlic chips, nori, scallions, a small amount of chili oil and mustard greens. The mustard green is definitely an unusual topping for ramen and was strangely not listed on the menu anywhere. It definitely is an acquired taste and I would not recommend it in a ramen at all. If you have never eaten mustard greens before, it kind of reminded me of a swiss chard...which is not something I really enjoy in any dish. There was so much of the mustard green in the soup and it has such a strong taste that it really affected the taste of the broth. Despite the very strong mustard green taste, the tonkotsu itself would have been good without this topping. Also, in some of the pictures online, the Zenbunose also came with sesame seeds, which I think would have been a very good addition. I think that the description of this ramen should have been a little bit more specific. Ryan really enjoyed his eggs and noodles. He actually ate some of my leftover noodles once I was done because I had some many extra. He commented that his soup did not have as many noodles. Maybe they should have split the difference between mine and his.
Overall Zundo-Ya's ramen is good. Nothing spectacular - I wouldn't go out of my way to go there. I also felt that the prices were a little expensive for what it is. Something that was very strange is that if you wanted to order extra scallion, it was an additional $4, which was the most expensive add-on topping at the restaurant. In short - if you want ramen and are near Ippudo and don't want to wait, it is a good way to get your fix.
84 E 10th St, New York, NY 10003
is a New Yorker who, when she isn't day dreaming about ramen, works as a producer for film and TV. She is absolutely terrible at using chopsticks properly, but gets the job done. Her go to ramen order: Tonkotsu with thick noodles, extra corn and scallions.