Slurping Solo, in Sweet Isolation, at Ichiran in Brooklyn
Ichiran, a Japanese ramen chain that touched down in Brooklyn last fall, makes one kind of soup, the opaque ivory pork broth called tonkotsu. Like a heart surgeon who operates only on the left ventricle, it has staked out a niche within a niche.
Within its microspecialty, though, Ichiran presents you with a boggling number of decisions. The first comes before the menu, and it will determine what kind of restaurant you eat in. When you walk in from Johnson Avenue, one of those Bushwick streets that runs along blank walls that hide disquieting postindustrial scars, you’re asked if you would rather sit in a booth or at a table.
This is an easy choice. The tables are arranged in a bright room with red paper lanterns, promotional posters and a television in the corner. It will do if you came with a group, but it is as special as the nicer restaurants in Penn Station.