To say Jin Ramen makes the best ramen in Harlem is not setting the bar high. But fans of this newish noodle shop on Broadway near the 125th Street subway station—the only ramen-ya within dozens of blocks—are searching far beyond the neighborhood for comparisons.
HLing says Jin's slow-brewed tonkotsu pork broth, one of five choices on the menu, is as rich as the basic broth at Santouka in New Jersey, the hound-approved outpost of a Hokkaido ramen specialist. strangemd tried the spicy tonkotsu option and declares it "deep, rich, creamy, and satisfying."
The marinated, simmered pork belly that Jin drapes over its ramen is outstanding, strangemd adds, meltingly tender and deeply flavorful. HLing says it bests the pork at Santouka and Tokyo transplant Setagaya in the East Village. "Thinner slices," she says, "but with such delicate and tender flavorful fatty bits." And Jin's noodles are firm, springy, and very fresh, says strangemd. Topping choices, $1 to $2 each, are numerous and include bamboo shoots, tofu, corn, kikurage mushrooms, spicy sesame oil or soy-garlic paste, and seasoned boiled egg.
Beyond ramen, look for a short menu of appetizers highlighted by excellent kara-age (marinated fried chicken). "I could've easily eaten the whole dish myself," says gloriousfood, "but I was sharing." Jin took over a hard-luck retail space whose luck may be changing: Business has been brisk so far. "The neighborhood is happy to finally have its own corner noodle shop," HLing says.
Jin Ramen [West Harlem]
3187 Broadway (between W. 125th Street and Tiemann Place), Manhattan