Usually seen in plastic bags and styrofoam cups, ramen noodles have gained notoriety for being a cheap and easy meal for the college students with accruing debts. However, ramen has shown itself to be an adaptable cuisine that can be found in various forms, from traditional to more exciting fusion styles. Ramen restaurants run so rampant in the village that they may seem daunting, so we’ve picked out the best and most interesting ramen spots in the village for when you’re craving more than just instant noodles.
65 4th Ave. (between east 9th and 10th streets)
Boasting a number of rave Yelp reviews, Ippudo is definitely considered to have some of the best ramen around. Based in Japan, the East Village spot is Ippudo’s first American location, guaranteeing authenticity. Ippudo offers chicken and vegetable ramen dishes, in addition to the traditional pork. But be warned, it is not for the frugal — a bowl of these acclaimed noodles will cost you about $15.
Niu Noodle House
15 Greenwich Ave. (between west 10th and Christopher streets)
The Niu Noodle House claims their ramen is unique: They combine ramen noodle theories to create their own brand of noodle. Aptly named “Niu Noodles,” even though it may sound pretentious, the restaurant offers a wide variety of meats and vegetables — guaranteed to please the hungry student.
34 1/2 St. Marks Place (between Second and Third avenues)
Amidst the hustle and bustle of St. Marks you can find Ramen Setagaya, a small and cozy little ramen shop. The menu is not extensive — they offer mainly pork ramen and only one vegetable option — but it is more on the affordable side. Setagaya also offers a combo deal of an appetizer and a bowl of ramen, sure to relieve a student’s slim wallet.
326 E. Sixth St. (between First and Second avenues) or 28 E. 13th St (between Fifth Avenue and University Place)
Souen is not your average noodle house. The venue appeals to the trendy as well as the health-conscious. Priding itself on providing organic, macrobiotic, sugar-free, gluten-free and vegan eats, Souen offers a surprisingly wide range of dining options for a reasonable price. Stop by when you’re craving something healthy, and try the organic ramen with kale and hints of lime and chili.
Cassidy Graves is a contributing writer. Email her at [email protected]