One of the countless experiences the pandemic has robbed me of is the pleasure of sitting in front of an open kitchen, watching my meal being prepared. I’m hoping that in 2021 I’ll be able to take a seat at the bar at Ichiddo Ramen. The month-old restaurant has a handful of comfortable-looking stools that look directly into the kitchen where broth simmers, noodles boil and ceramic bowls are swiftly filled with these ingredients and many more.
Right now Ichiddo is doing a brisk takeout business and can also seat about five socially distanced parties. The dining room, furnished with elegant simplicity, features a whimsical mural in which a noodly seascape flows out of a tipped-over bowl of ramen, leaving fish and slices of fish cake to bounce up and down in the waves.
The menu lists 11 bowls of ramen in broth, topped with pork, beef, seafood, chicken and seafood. There are also five ramen stir-fries, five donburi (rice bowls) and more than a dozen starters, from filled buns and gyoza dumplings to chicken wings and fried calamari. Mains range from $11.95 to $13.95; starters are $3 to $4.95.
Some of the menu nomenclature can be misleading. Most of the ramen bowls are built on a "soy sauce base," but co-owner Mimi Chi assured me that this is a traditional tonkotsu broth, made from the lengthy simmering of pork bones. Another quirk is that the pork that figures in many of the dishes is identified as "char siu" even though it is chashu. (Char siu is a Chinese preparation of roast pork; the Japanese preparation chashu — whose name derives from the Chinese — is made with rolled pork belly that’s been braised and then seared.)
In any event, my char siu / chashu ramen was a very successful bowl, loaded with firm noodles, a soft-cooked egg, preserved bamboo, strips of nori (dried seaweed), scallions and sliced fish cake.
Ichiddo is the first New York outpost of a Minneapolis-based chain, founded in 2017 by Tony Yang, with five locations in Minnesota and one in Las Vegas. It’s the first restaurant venture for Mimi Chi, but she grew up in the kitchens of the Chinese restaurants her extended family owned in Suffolk County, including Yhum Yhum Kitchen in Huntington and Cheung’s Garden in West Islip.
Ichiddo Ramen is at 983 Port Washington Blvd., Port Washington, 516-441-5779, portwashington.ichiddo.com.