I didn’t realize until a few days ago that there was a viable ramen option for lunch near my new place of work. Terakawa Ramen, located at 18 Lexington Avenue right on the border between Kips Bay to the north and the Gramercy Park neighborhood to the south — only a couple blocks east of Madison Square Park and its perpetually long Shake Shack line — might not be pretty, but its cooks serve up a pretty decent bowl of noodles ‘n’ broth.
This was actually my second visit to Terakawa — my friend and I dropped in on a particularly rainy March evening during my job search, but it slipped my mind that this had been right after I interviewed with the company I ended up working for. I recall my first impression being pretty much the same: decent food with a middling decor.
To be fair, though, I don’t care much how a restaurant looks except when I’m on a romantic night out with my wife or visiting somewhere like Las Vegas or Walt Disney World where the level of immersion into a theme is a core part of the overall experience. If I’m going to a ramen restaurant, I’m there for only one reason — a tasty bowl of noodles — and Terakawa delivers on that aspect. Their namesake dish offers up the noodles topped with sliced pork, bamboo shoots, red ginger, kikurage mushrooms, scallions, and a soft boiled egg in a traditional tonkotsu pork bone based broth that’s a tad on the salty side.
Terakawa’s food isn’t on par with the culinary creations from the “big three” — Ippudo, Totto and Hide-Chan — but it’s right up there in the “silver tier” of the ramen places in Manhattan that I’ve personally tried… and I don’t have to wait an hour or more on line just to get in.