These days, it seems like everyone fancies themselves a ramen expert. Any time we bring up the topic - whether it be in the context of a review or even just casual conversation - someone chimes in with some bullsh*t about why [insert popular ramen restaurant] is overrated, while [insert nearly identical ramen restaurant] is more authentic and in Queens and how dare you. Apparently two trips to Ippudo makes you Ivan Orkin.
Even though we eat a lot of the stuff, we certainly don't consider ourselves ramen experts. We're more of the mindset that good ramen is good ramen, no matter where you happen to find it. And Ramen Setagaya was the first place we ever found it. At least outside of a college dorm room.
Many years ago, when Ramen Setagaya was on 2nd Avenue, this was the first experience I had with ramen that didn't come in a dry brick with a packet of delicious sodium poison. My eyes were opened to the glory of porky broth, chewy noodles, and soft boiled egg. It then became a regular dinner destination, even after some of the newer spots opened up nearby.
Since then, Ramen Setagaya has moved to St. Marks, but everything else remains the same. We still love it most for its simplicity - you'll find no cheese ramen or ramen with corned beef here. Just traditional soups with really good noodles and plenty of cold Sapporo on hand to keep you occupied.
How does it fit in amongst the many other ramen places around town? I'd say that we're probably not qualified to answer that question beyond the fact that we're always happy with a meal here. But if you really want to know, we're betting you won't have any problem finding an "expert."
Rich and delicious. Miso goes in the broth to add umami goodness, and that's a good thing.
The classic soy sauce ramen of your dreams. Eggs make everything better.
An almost milky chicken-based ramen that tastes like chicken soup on steroids. If porkiness isn't your thing, or even if it is, don't sleep on this option.