My first visit to the Teinei Ya ramen shop in Syosset was well-timed, and slightly tricky: The first snow of November was falling when I spotted the sign for Hanamaru, a Japanese market, along Jericho Turnpike. I hooked around the back of a brick building, walked past the neon bags of Pocky and chilled green teas to a counter at the back …
… and soon had my mitts on a bowl of rich, milky broth filled with flaps of pork, Myojo noodles, spinach and a soft-boiled egg, sheets of nori jutting from the surface. One of 10 ramens assembled here, this version was dubbed Plus. "It's both a pork and chicken broth, which makes it creamy," said Ning Wang, co-owner (with his wife, Miwa Kadota Nanae) of both Hanamaru and the ramen shop, Teinei Ya. Next to him, the counter was filled with bottles of vinegar and shakers of togarashi for seasoning, as well as a tray of onigiri, triangles of nori-wrapped rice with proteins such as tuna at their core. Nearby, a few people tucked into their own bowls of ramen at a handful of tables.
Cast in earthy tones and textures, the cafe makes a hat trick of ramen shops in the Teinei Ya chain; in addition to the original in Little Neck, a second location opened in Great Neck in the spring of 2018. The Syosset spot has a few unique features: For one, it's housed inside a small but packed Japanese grocery where you can load up on staples such as rice, tofu, vinegar, tea, vegetables and even Japanese beer. And the menu here reaches beyond ramen to meal sets (teishoku, $11 to $14), in which a main dish such as fried chicken (kara-age), grilled mackerel or salmon nanban comes with miso soup, salad, rice and pickles.
Ramen ($11 to $15) is still a bedrock, though. Among those made here are tonkotsu (pork broth) ramen to versions assembled with vegetable tempura, dan dan noodles or edamame falafel; add-ons, such as eggs, corn or extra meat, ring in between $1.50 to $4. Udon, soba and rice bowls ($7 to $16) and snacks such as takoyaki (battered balls of octopus), chicken wings and shumai round out the menu.
Hanamaru is open daily from 9:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m., and Teinei Ya opens at 11:30 a.m. Find it at 140 Jericho Tpke. in Syosset. The phone number is 516-921-0600.