This little Japanese joint opened up in April of 2014. My ramen-master buddy found it while perusing a Yelp search for ramen in midtown west. He has tried nearly everything else in the city, so this was a new spot for him.
It was a pretty nice little place. Inside, there’s lots of space – not your typical jammed-up ramen joint with a line out the door and no space to lift your fucking elbow from the table. The bar and table seating is spacious, and there’s a second bar in the back for sushi.
When we walked in, I saw an awesome looking grilled squid dish. I wanted it badly, but I mistakenly ordered the sautéed squid item just above it on the menu. It was okay (slightly chewy for my liking), but it had a good spicy flavor from the jalapeños:
We also tried the fried chicken thighs (karage). These were good. Juicy and crispy. Gotta love the thigh meat.
For ramen, I tried the tonkotsu that came with miso flavored pork belly. it was okay. The broth was a little light and the pork was a little chewy (I like the belly to be fall-apart soft in ramen). Also, I expected the belly to be a thick cut, as opposed to thin bacon style. The noodles were good: thin, straight, firm … like Quagmire’s erect cock (that’s a pure guess – I’ve never seen it).
My buddy has been to nearly every ramen place in the 5 boroughs. He said this bowl of tan tan men was good and recommended; I believe a possible 3.5 out of 5 on his very difficult scale. I though thought the broth was robust and flavorful, just the right amount of spicy. Perhaps I would get it with straight noodles, knowing now that it is served with wavy egg noodles.
All that said, this is a rare spot that serves up a full Japanese food menu in addition to some decent ramen. It’s not just a ramen shop by any means.
On a second trip I tried some other items. First, the grilled squid. This was pretty good, nicely cooked, etc.
My wife ordered the salmon saddle, which was really flavorful and perfectly fried. The fat from within the layers of fish flakes was really delicious.
I tried the signature Nippori ramen, which was coconut milk-based with chicken, cilantro and red onion. I liked it a lot but I think the similar style at Tabata was a little bit more to my liking. The wavy egg noodles were nicely cooked, the egg was soft and delicious, but I think this bowl would benefit from some sliced jalapeños.
My wife ordered a soba dish but we got this skillet fried ramen dish instead. The pork in the dish was similar to the kind in my first bowl of ramen, up top. It was a good dish, but totally not what we expected from an order of soba.
For dessert we tried two items. First was the espresso and chocolate coffee gelato. This was really tasty, and I would definitely recommend it.
The key lime cheesecake was okay. I wasn’t blown away by it. It did the job, but that ice cream / gelato was way better.
245 W. 51st St.
New York, NY 10019