Monday, April 30, 2012

Totto in New York

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My first ever trip to the East Coast, and I relied heavily on recommendations of friends. On the flight over, I discovered that the Japanese guidebook I had purchased was aimed squarely at a mid-20s female audience. I wasn't about to spend my week eating cupcakes and shopping for hair accessories.

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Kampai! I'm thankful that my New York friends know the important things in life.

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Beer and ramen. The beer is obviously imported, but what about the ramen?

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Totto takes an odd approach, choosing to do a 鳥人丸鶏白湯ラーメン, a creamy chicken bone paitan, that would be considered rare even in Tokyo. Their sister shop in NY, Hide-Chan, does a creamy tonkotsu, so maybe that's the reason. And cross-town rival Ippudo is obviously doing the creamy soup thing. Take note, America, the top three shops in the battleground that is New York are all going for that ultra-richness that you can only get from boiling bones for days.

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In a strange reversal of the norm, this time the toppings were mediocre and the soup was on point. The miso is unnecessary, opt for the spicy instead.

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House-made rayu and that white soup, this is a bowl that was worth the hour long wait. Go for the extra hot version if you like your food spicy rather than bold.

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The staff all shouted Japanese greetings, the wait was done on the street, and the bowl had a cute little graphic below the soup line. It's all coming together.

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