Ichiran, known for its solo-dining experience and delicious tonkotsu ramen, is opening their third largest U.S. location this week in the heart of Times Square.
Once open, the Times Square bi-level space will have the option for both group dining as well as the solo-dining they’ve come to be known for around the city. There will be collapsable wooden dividers in the seating area that can be raised for privacy and lowered for groups. The upstairs area will be the first to open on Thursday, March 28, with the bottom level opening in April.
Ichiran is a family-owned business that started in Fukuoka, Japan—deemed the epicenter of the ramen movement—as a ramen stall in 1960 and created the “Five Originals” for tonkotsu ramen including Original Spicy Red Sauce, aromatic tonkotsu broth, solo dining booths, order forms and the Kae-Dama ordering system. That said, the new space will pay homage to the Shōwa era (the time period when the stall first opened) and mirror their other locations in Japan with stained wood paneling and windows that look like rice paper. There are also lovely red lanterns hanging above to guide guests to their seats.
As is such on their two other NYC locations, the solo-dining seats will feature a red and black stool with a bamboo screen and wooden dividers (except these dividers will be foldable). From behind the bamboo screen you’ll only ever see hands reach out to serve you your dish, and there will be a ‘call button’ near you if you need to the staff.
When it comes to the food Ichiran is best known for their tonkotsu ramen, which is made with their Hakata-style homemade thin noodles (prepared fresh daily), tonkotsu broth (prepared with filtered water and pork bones), and their Original Spicy Red Sauce (a togarashi pepper-based sauce aged and cooked slowly with more than 30 different types of spices, which they call ‘Hiden no Tare’).
Then you add whatever you’d like! Choose the level of richness you’d like and additional flavoring, sauces, pork, scallions, and even noodle textures. You can then add toppings like pork loin, a soft-boiled egg, Kikurage mushrooms, white rice, dried seaweed, and Osukaran vinegar. Guests can also add kae-dama to their order, which is a noodle refill; or even half a kae-dama if they don’t want a second full order of noodles to add to the remaining broth.
In addition to the ramen guests will be able to order matcha pudding for dessert, and a handful of beverages like matcha draft beer, ramune (a Japanese soda), calico, matcha tea, and Asahi super dry draft beer.
The restaurant will host their grand opening at 11 a.m. on Thursday, March 28. From then on it’ll be open daily from 11 a.m. until 11 p.m., with the last order being at 10:30 p.m. The downstairs level will open soon after in April.
If you’re one of those people who avoid Times Square like a plague, Ichiran still has their two other locations in Midtown and Brooklyn; and here are some other great ramen spots to check out in the five boroughs.
Place: Ichiran Times Square
Where: 152 West 49th Street
Hours: daily, 11 a.m.-11 p.m.
featured image source: Facebook /ICHIRAN NY
Also published on Medium.