Up a Noodle

In Hell's Kitchen, making ramen is a science
Totto Ramen
A bowl of ramen | Refractometer at work

As a dish, ramen doesn't rank high on the complexity meter.

But at Totto Ramen, a new 19-seat noodle bar from the folks behind Yakitori Totto and Soba Totto, the dish's rudimentary building blocks--broth and noodles--are prepared with the utmost precision and care.

Each bowl starts with a heady chicken broth, which the restaurant makes by upcycling discarded chicken bones from Yakitori Totto.

During serving, the kitchen leaves nothing to chance. Every 30 minutes, a cook armed with a refractometer--a scientific instrument that measures the concentration of a solution--tests the broth's levels to ensure that it's up to snuff.

Then the broth meets a buoyant nest of noodles (made daily at Soba Totto), ribbons of green onion and sheets of tender pork, which get their burnished color by way of a blowtorch. Order your ramen spicy, and it'll come with a liberal ladle of sinus-clearing chile-garlic sauce.

With ramen this good, it's no surprise that the place has already racked up serious wait times. But noodle lovers, take note: A second branch, called Hide-Chan Ramen, has opened to carry the weight; it features tonkotsu (pork broth) made using the same obsessive methods.

Totto Ramen, 366 W. 52nd St. (between Eighth and Ninth aves.); 212-582-0052 or tottoramen.com

Totto Ramen 366 W. 52nd St. New York NY 10019 212-582-0052
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