We are knee-deep into ramen season, and while there’s not a shortage of ramen spots in NYC, the trick is to narrowing down which are the best of the best.
Tonchin New York is one of those spots. Hailing from Japan, this is the first one opening in the US. The first Tonchin restaurant opened in Tokyo in 1992 by Katsuhiro Sugeno and his brother. This New York location is opened by Katsuhiro’s sons, Toi and Anan. In addition to the 16 Tonchin locations, the Sugeno family owns and operates another 70+ restaurants throughout Asia.
While it may seem daunting to trek to Herald Square during the holiday shopping rush, it’s worth dodging tourists to make it to Tonchin New York. The ambiance is modern and fresh, a lovely sophisticated setting that is interesting but doesn’t take away attention from the delicious food. All of the items on the menu are authentically Japanese, from the Tokyo tonkotsu ramen to the okonomiyaki.
We kicked off our meal with a few cocktails. As most people know my love of egg white cocktails and sours, I started off with Pink Lady made from Kinoni Kyoto dry gin, grenadine, yuzu, lavender, egg white, and lemon. Also super refreshing was the Cilantro Mojito with Jogo Sokuto shochu, cilantro, lime, spearmint, and topped with soda. They also boast a list of sake, draft beers, and aging whiskey cocktails.
Potato salad is a staple Japanese appetizer, and Tonchin does it in an elegant way mixed with snow crab, onion, tobiko, and mayonnaise. Other shared dishes have a fun fusion twist, including the miso mozzarella caprese topped with tomatoes and a genovese sauce, and the smoked mini tomato with black olive, tuna, and black sesame.
Now for the star of the show: the ramen. We asked what was recommended and were told that the Spicy Tan Tan Ramen was one of the most popular choices, so I went with that. The Spicy Tan Tan comes with in a pork broth with roasted pork, an egg, scallions, menma, crushed nuts, miso, chilli pepper, and oyster sauce. It is very hearty and flavorful, a great choice to take the edge of the winter chills. It definitely has a spicy kick, so depending on your spiciness tolerance beware. However if you are a lover of all things overly spicy, you will probably be okay.
The second recommended option was the Smoked Dashi Ramen with pork borth, an egg, smoked fish oil, clams, and mizuna leaf. This is definitely a lighter option, but still full of rich flavor. If you want to take any of your ramen bowls to the next level, you can add on additional toppings, which include a soft-boiled seasoned egg, roasted Berkshire pork, seasoned bamboo shoots, seaweed, and a homemade spicy sauce.
If you’re not in the mood for slurping, Tonchin also offers donburi rice bowls. We’ll be back next time to try the smoked pork don and, my personal favorite, the unagi don with tororo grated yam.
Tonchin New York is open for dinner daily, and now open on weekday lunch. Stop by and get warmed up at this delicious Japanese spot!
Tonchin New York
13 W. 36th Street
btw. 5th and 6th Avenues
New York, NY 10018
Hours of Operation
Monday through Friday
Lunch 12 – 2:30 PM
Dinner 5:30 – 10 PM
Saturday & Sunday
Lunch 12 – 2:30 PM
Dinner 5:30 – 9 PM
Photos by Nicole Franzen/Tonchin New York and by Socially Superlative