By Dane Feldman
Photos by Dane Feldman.
Jin Ramen is located on Broadway and 125th Street as well as on Amsterdam and 79th Street, but this review is focusing specifically on the former location. The restaurant is almost always packed to the point where I had considered dining here several times before actually doing so. Patrons are constantly waiting to be seated in the small restaurant and the establishment has even put up a temporary room outside for people to wait in during the colder months.
As you may have already guessed, Jin Ramen is a rather trending place, especially amongst Columbia University students and faculty. There’s certainly a good reason behind the popularity: the food is outstanding (and ridiculously cheap to boot!) and inventive.
After having the idea of tasting Jin Ramen’s ramen on the brain for so long, my dining partner and I skipped past everything else on the menu (items like salads, dumplings, pork buns, and even fried chicken) and went straight for the ramen section. We ordered one spicy tonkotsu ramen (pork broth with ramen noodles, spicy soybean and roasted garlic paste, a soft-boiled egg, pork belly, and vegetables) and one regular tonkotsu ramen.
Both of these delicious dishes are Jin Ramen’s specialty: pork bone stock, which also happens to be one of the biggest projected food trends for 2015. I will say, however, that even for us two lovers of spicy food, the spicy tonkotsu ramen became almost inedible after a few minutes and we were grateful to also have the regular tonkotsu to share. Next time, I may go for the regular (and I’ll definitely be taking advantage of their “less salty” option).
Jin Ramen serves soft drinks including Japanese sodas, five different Japanese beers, a variety of sake, sake wine, plum wine, and even a seasonal cocktail. I didn’t order anything this time around, but next time I’ll be trying their infused sake wine.
Despite how busy it is inside the small restaurant, dining at Jin Ramen is a relaxing experience. The wait staff is incredibly friendly, attentive, and efficient. The lighting is rather dim, which is conducive to eating a hearty soup and sipping on sake.
All in all, Jin Ramen offers a wonderful and organic dining experience. This place is worth the wait, so don’t let the crowd be too daunting.