Bergen Mama for Bergen Review Media
Sorry, soup, but you’re just not cutting it when it comes to warming us up this winter. Nope, right now, only ramen will do (and we don’t mean that stuff that comes in a styrofoam cup)! We’re talking real Japanese-style ramen—savory broth, oodles of noodles, and a host of yummy toppings served in an oversized, piping-hot bowl.
Menya Sandaime (1638 Parker Avenue, Fort Lee, (201) 482-4141, BYOB)
Of all the ramen restaurants in this roundup, this one rules the roost. With only about 20 seats to go around, this place is small (they don’t take rezzies, so expect a short wait), but packs a serious punch when it comes to authenticity. For proof, look no further than the glass window outside the kitchen, where you can watch the staff preparing mounds of fresh, house-made noodles! We copped a squat at the counter to try the Karakuchi Ramen (noodles served in a spicy, Tokyo-style pork broth and topped with grilled pork belly, scallions, a marinated egg, bean sprouts, and spinach). The pork belly was cooked to perfection; overall, just a great and flavorful bowl. Even though the portions here are generous, we couldn’t help but want more.
Kimchi Smoke (301 Center Avenue, Westwood, (201) 497-6333, BYOB)
You might not immediately think to head to a BBQ joint when you’re jonesing for Japanese ramen, but appearances can be deceiving. Sure, the menu is stocked with award-winning faves like ribs and briskets, but look closer and you’ll discover they also serve up all kinds of ingenious ramen creations, including the Austin Ramen Cho 1.5 (smoked brisket, Fatboy Bourbon Chipotle Sauce, smoked kimchi, cheese, bacon, scallions, and a Gochu glaze served on a ramen burger bun; $16) as well as their own over-the-top take on traditional ramen —when you’re lucky enough to get it, that is. Offered only on Tuesday nights starting the end of February, it sells out FAST!
Tori Ramen Chicken (40 Chestnut Street, Ridgewood, (201) 857-0908, BYOB)
This Ridgewood noodle house opened last year specializes in one thing—ramen!— and take their noodles to the next level, offering no less than fifteen flavorful options, including meats, vegetables, and tofu. We ordered the vegetarian option, and while it was a little plain, it was done well and loaded with broccoli, corn, water chestnuts, carrots, snap peas, scallions, zucchini, and cabbage. We also sampled the seafood bowl, which was swimming with muscles, fish cakes, shrimp, clams, and more. Both bowls were topped with an egg, and the noodles were cooked to perfection. Fast, family-friendly service, too!
Batten Ramen (2024 Center Avenue, Fort Lee, (201) 461-5465, BYOB)
This no-frills nook located at the Oaktree Mall Shopping Center is the perfect place to slurp up a bowl of ramen goodness when you’re on the go. We popped in for lunch with the kids, who appreciated the photo-driven menu, so they could see exactly what they’ll be getting (we loved the complimentary hot tea we were served while we decided what to order). We settled on the Batten Ramen—their signature bowl featuring piping hot pork broth, wheat noodles, chunks of pork, bamboo shoots, egg, and scallions—and an order of the Vegetable and Pork Goyza, which complemented the flavorful (though slightly murky) broth perfectly. With our appetites amply abated, we were in and out in no time—easy peasy!
Content gathered & updated by the Bergen Review Media team.