Just when you think the city is oversaturated with ramen shops, another one opens, the newest one being Ramen Lab in Nolita. This is the one operated by Sun Noodle, the famous noodle purveyor to the stars such as Momofuku and Ivan Ramen, and has Jack Nakamura the "ramen god" running the kitchen.
I waited outside for 45 minutes for one of the 10-12 spots at the counter to open up. For 7:30 on a Friday night, and for a city that likes to wait for good ramen, I thought the wait was actually pretty reasonable. I could see it getting worse when the weather improves.
The torigara shoyu ramen was pretty traditional. It featured a very clean broth made of chicken, a departure from the intense tonkotsu pork broths that the city seems to be obsessed with. Delicate, thinner noodles were used, since the broth was simple enough to let the slight, starchy glutens of the noodle come through. I guess I am so used to tonkotsu broths that I was surprised by the basic nature of this shoyu, but I liked how drinkable the broth was, unburdened by all that cloudy pork fat.
The XO miso broth, on the other hand, was intensely rich and earthy and almost buttery, and as such, thicker, springier noodles were used so that they wouldn’t recede beneath the heavy miso veil. The noodles were perfectly chewy, the stir-fried bean sprouts and chives provided some nice texture, the XO sauce added just a hint of heat and brine without being too funky, and the miso felt very smooth. You definitely need to add on the eggs to optimize the experience.
I would definitely come back here for the shoyu ramen because I like my ramens a little more basic, and I like to slurp the broth at the end. The miso ramen was very unique and good in its own way, but that dense broth certainly was not drinkable. There's a lot of ramens competing for our attention, but we should make room for Ramen Lab. If you want to see pictures of the two different ramens and the set up of the kitchen, reference the link for some pictures and more detailed descriptions