As you pass through the curtain into the dining area, Ichiran provides the feeling of authenticity. It is set up with traditional rows of seating, separated by a removable partition. The sounds, smells, and noise in the kitchen are strongly reminiscent of being in Tokyo. The order form with the checkboxes also follows suit and brings back memories.
I saw a gesture when I went to Tokyo many years ago that I’ll never forget. When the server handed you the check, it was done with a form of reverence and dignity with outstretched hands. When the server brought the ramen, I saw the same gesture, the same type of respect, and the same reverence for the product.
Ichiran only serves one type of ramen here, the classic tonkotsu ramen, known for its collagen-rich pork bone broth. They focus on one kind of noodle to make sure they do that one noodle perfectly. These ramen noodles are authentic and genuine, tasty and flavorful. The noodles are made from scratch, and the chefs even go so far as to change the recipe slightly, depending upon the temperature and humidity. Yes, read that again. They alter the recipe depending on the day’s temperature and humidity. Take a moment to consider that, especially in a fast-food world with pre-packaged ideas and products. Their energy is guided by that one mission of that one meal being done flawlessly.
Ichiran ramen is a far cry from the type of ramen you have had in college. They are both named ramen, and that is where the comparison ends. It’s the same as comparing homemade pasta to store-bought cans of Chef Boyardee. It’s an entirely different experience with the commonality of the same name: ramen.
The entirety of the restaurant has a zen-like feeling. It’s calming and isolated from the insanity of New York with a singular meditative focus towards this product. The entire experience is solely dedicated to having an incredible Ichiran Ramen meal.
Yes, you come here for great noodles, but you return because of the authenticity and the dedication to the product. If you seek authenticity matched with zen, then this is the place.