The new location will have two stories—and yes, there are solo dining booths.
If you’re a fan of tonkotsu ramen and you live in New York, we’ve got great news—there’s a third Ichiran location coming to town, and it’s set to (partially) open near Times Square on March 28, reports Eater. The expansion follows the Fukuoka-based chain’s Brooklyn opening in 2016, as well as a 2018 debut in Midtown. The best part? It’s going to be the largest Ichiran in the city yet, outfitted with two levels and a grand total of 103 seats.
The restaurant’s famous ramen includes pork-bone soup and special raw noodles, which combine a "unique blend of quality flours" and are made with a special machine—the dough is continually thinned out, around three to four times, but as for the machine settings, they're top-secret. Also kept under wraps? The ramen's aged “Spicy Red Sauce,” which is chili powder-based (so be prepared for a kick) and blends together 30 different ingredients—a recipe only four people in the world know, as Hana Isoda, then manager of Ichiran’s international marketing and development, previously told Food & Wine. However, Ichiran did eventually let cameras inside its kitchens to film the noodle making process, which you can check out below.
“Our goal is to keep and maintain the same authenticity everywhere,” Isoda had said. “So when you come to Ichiran in Fukuoka, Hong Kong or New York, you’re going to get the same quality and taste.”
Ichiran is also known for its solo dining experience, where patrons sit in “flavor concentration booths,” where they’re closed off from other diners and order their meals via a call button—minimizing the human contact as much as possible, so the focus is truly on the ramen. However, at the Times Square location, the booths’ wooden partitions can be folded back, in case diners want to sit together. If you want to check it out yourself, the first level of the restaurant (65 seats) opens next week; the lower level with the remaining 38 seats will open next month. With this opening, as well as the new John Fraser concepts at the Times Square Edition hotel, it just might give New Yorkers more incentive to linger in Times Square.