New York’s ramen boom continues with Nakamura, which opens Monday, January 18 at 172 Delancey Street in the Lower East Side. The eponymous establishment is the brainchild of Shigetoshi “Jack” Nakamura, the superstar ramen chef who made a name for himself in Tokyo and had a stint stateside developing noodles and broth with Sun Noodle’s Ramen Lab.
JC•NYC Fashion Editor Jen Green and I visited Nakamura during its soft opening period to sample what’s in store for noodle aficionados. Chef Naka’s fare exceeded expectations. His signature Torigara Shoyu is an out-of-this-world bowl of ramen. The sublime broth is flavorful but not overpowering; it’s in perfect balance with the noodles, spinach, chashu, and menma. Jen raved about the Spicy Curry, whose broth was surprisingly not the thick paste that you’ll find in other ramen shops. Chef Naka’s thin noodles are the best part of his creations. As much as I love ramen, thicker or curlier noodles can sometimes be a chore to eat. The thin noodles make slurping easy and tasty. Nakamura’s menu will also include XO Miso (a vegetarian offering) and Yuzu Dashi (Japanese citrus in a chicken and seafood broth). Oh, and let’s not forget the gyoza. The paper-thin wrappers are perfectly charred and stuffed with a delicious mix of pork, cabbage, and ginger.
The shop is a charming, cozy space with exposed brick and dark-wood tables offset by a giant sign screaming “NAKAMURA” in electric lights that might look more at home on Broadway than across the street from the Williamsburg Bridge in the Lower East Side. At practically any vantage point in the dining area, guests will be able to see Chef Naka cooking in the tiny kitchen, wearing his ever-present fedora and ridding the noodles of excess water with his signature “shake.”
In a city that is saturated with ramen restaurants, do we really need another one? If all ramen-yas could be as delicious as Nakamura, the answer is a resounding “Yes!”
172 Delancey Street
Monday through Saturday 5:00 p.m. until midnight