Diagonally away from the mecca of NY’s ramen scene, Harlem seems like an unlikely location for a noodle joint. Then again, it is just steps away from Columbia, and surely, great intellect calls for great broth and booze. Jin Ramen heroically answers this call, undaunted by the lack of comrades in the area. Simply reachable by the 1 train, Jin is hidden neatly under the tracks and embraces the diner with a surprisingly warm aura–savory air and wooden panels abundant.
The menu is simple, much like any other ramen shop. The regular shio and shoyu are certainly no strangers and are served in with chicken broth. Others are tonkotsu, one regular, one spicy, both undeniably immersed the the essence of pork bone, milky marrow. Of course, there was also the hiyashi chuka, gyoza, and buns to go alongside it all. If you find yourself not in the mood for noodles and trapped inexplicably at a ramen joint, there are also rice bowl options with beef and others…or you can just have beer. They carry the regulars, but also, delightfully, a line of coedo beers. One of my favorites being the beniaka, made with yams. At $10 a pop, they make similar dents in your wallet to a bowl. Definitely worth a try though, given the rarity in New York.
Green apple soda in hand, the ramen had a arrived minutes after the order was placed. The noodles were then finished with the same efficiency. I had the shoyu, which was fair, with two slices of cha siu and simple garnishes. Altogether, whatever merit of the broth was completely overtaken by overall salinity. There was much I felt in the folds of the liquid, but that was all subordinate to the saltiness. The same was true for the tonkotsu noodles, which were creamier in texture, with a real flavor of bones, but whatever complexity was there, remained just below the surface.
Compared to the brethren downtown, I found Jin satisfactory, but not exemplary. For those in the Columbia area, it no doubts serves to satisfy those unwilling too sedentary to venture on a 30 minute subway ride. However, I think given the wealth of the island, there are options that make Jin perhaps just a neighborhood fixture.
What does this rating mean?
New York, NY 10027