It brings me SO MUCH JOY to write about Totto. Damn I wish I can have some right now! I LOVE RAMEN. It's one of my favorite food items, but let me tell you, it is hard to find good, flavorful, vegetarian ramen. Many places will have a "veggie ramen," but it'll be more like a veggie noodle soup. So what defines a good veggie ramen? Just like in regular ramen, it's all about the broth and noodles! Whenever I order veggie ramen, the first thing I do is taste the soup. From that first taste, I can tell if this will be a bomb-ass bowl of ramen, or a regular meh bowl of noodles. There are new ramen places popping up everywhere, be it in New York, Chicago, or LA. Of all the places I've been to (and trust me, I've been to a fair share) Totto is still my favorite! Many people will say, "What? That's not real ramen. Real ramen needs pork broth." And I'll say, "BRO. TRY MY DAMN BROTH." They'll try it and say, "OH HOT DAMN THAT'S GOOD." And I'll say, "YEA. THAT'S RIGHT."
The Totto veggie ramen broth is magical, there's no other way to describe it. It's like drinking a spoonful of sunshine on a cold winter day. The flavors are very balanced and NOT too salty, which is so important. Every time I walk in, I literally cannot stop smiling. I always give new restaurants 2 chances, especially if I really liked it the first time. There can be many reasons for loving a meal -- maybe I was really hungry the first time, maybe I was craving a certain item. So that's why I go back the second time to see if the food was actually as good as I remembered it the first time. Well I've been to Totto like 15 times and I don't even live in NY. I think that says a lot. This place has a damn good veggie ramen (in my opinion, better than Ippudo's veg ramen and way better than Momofuku's). The noodles are cooked just right, not too soft, not too hard - very chewy... just the right bite! I also love Totto because they give an assortment of veggies: sprouts, red, green and yellow bell peppers, red cabbage, fried tofu, mushrooms, and avocado (which I never thought would taste good with ramen, but it does). There's also lime for additional flavor. When you combine the noodles, the veggies and the magical broth, it's like riding on a unicorn to my happiest place on earth and nothing else matters anymore because I have the most delicious bite of ramen in my mouth. Sometimes, I can finish an entire bowl and still want another bowl, that's how good it is.
Go check out Totto - they have a few locations. The one I listed usually has a shorter wait, it's definitely worth a try!
Beware: CASH ONLY! No reservations allowed, and the wait can get long (i.e. upwards of an hour, depending on your party). I advise going with one other person - you'll get seated a lot faster. But I've also gone in a party of 6, meaning... it's doable!
My last note here is that between Totto, Momofuku, and Ippudo, Totto is very affordably priced... which spells WINNER to me!