Nakamura, a hot newcomer in the NYC ramen scene, is Chef Shigetoshi Nakamura’s first restaurant in the US. If his name sounds familiar to you, it’s because it was a pretty big deal when he made his debut at Sun Noodle’s Ramen Lab about a year ago. I, sadly, didn’t get a chance to try his ramen then, but happily visited his tiny new ramen shop last week.
Tucked away on Delancey Street, Nakamura seats no more than twenty people. I got there shortly after they opened, and there already were a handful of other customers slurping away. The space has many the usual stylings of a ramen-ya, but they’ve thrown in a few distinctive touches like the lighted marquee and random books on the shelves. The glass beakers are a nice ode to Nakamura’s start at the lab.
Short and sweet, the menu fits on a single small piece of paper. There are five different types of ramen to choose from, including one vegan option (yesssss). It was an easy choice for me, but you eaters of the flesh out there have some tough decisions to make.
Jay of the Dishelin Guide got the curry spiced ramen ($16) with a chicken and gyokai (seafood) broth, curry spices, minced beef, and bean sprouts. They don’t skimp on the curry seasonings here. Rich, enticing aromas, and I’m guessing this is the heaviest of the meat-based broths at Nakamura.
Nakamura’s website lists the XO miso ramen ($16) as vegetarian, but it’s actually vegan. The magic in this bowl is from Momofuku’s XO sauce, which is a vegan alternative to traditional shellfish and pork variety. It’s a mixture of fermented rye, soy beans, and tasty seasonings. Talk about serious umami. I’m trying my best not to drool on my keyboard as I write this.
While the thick yellow noodles look pretty, they don’t pack as much of a wow as the intense broth. They’re very generous with noodles, but don’t worry, there’s plenty of broth to balance it out. The bean sprouts and Chinese chives add a little crunch, but aren’t exactly unique or standout toppings. All that said, I would come back for more of that broth!