ICHIRAN is a branch of solo booth restaurants serving up Japanese ramen. I got to try their East Williamsburg location in Brooklyn, NY.
The booths are neat and spacious. You’re greeted with a set of chopsticks, an order sheet, and pen on a chain. Pretty simple, right?
My initial thought when hearing about this place was what if you wanted to enjoy their quality ramen, but not necessarily solo?
Only a handful of ICHIRAN locations have communal dining rooms and this was one of them. However, if you’re thinking the menu will be different, think again. So we decided to stay with the booth experience. Luckily, there is a way for adjacent booths to “link” by unlocking the panel in between:
Overall, the dine-in time was extremely short. They weren’t kidding when they said that the booths would minimize wait time and maximize ramen freshness. It goes from kitchen to table in record time. Had we not ordered the noodle refill (Kae-Dama), we would’ve been in & out in 20 minutes!
The call button is convenient but when your server arrives, it’s very difficult to hear them. You’re also given a water refill card to hand to them to reduce the amount of conversation with them. This is an introvert’s ramen dream come true!
The ramen itself is pricey, almost double the amount of a typical bowl you can get elsewhere. But I thoroughly enjoyed it. They don’t dress it up with fancy toppings like I’d usually get like egg, mushrooms, or bamboo shoots, but the broth is hot & flavorful and the pork is incredibly tasty.
I love that on the order sheet there are so many customization options available like the firmness of the noodles. And the awesome thing is that you can switch up the firmness on your noodle refill!
Ordering a refill of noodles is easy and requires little to no talking to your server. Simply order it ahead of time when placing your meal order, or use the call button and order more on your chopstick sleeve. Be sure to save some broth if you’re ordering extra! (And a little chashu too!)
The ambience is great and the booth section is fairly quiet, unless many others in your row have opened up their partitions as well. And the communal dining area seemed equivalently quiet.
By the way, this is a no tip establishment which is probably a factor in the high cost of the food. But we enjoyed the experience and the food was delicious, just not a “best bang for your buck” ramen joint. I’d definitely come back though because of all the available customization for the ramen.
Parking isn’t difficult, though you may need to walk some depending on street availability. And with all things considered, if this is still too much human interaction for you, grab a ramen kit to go and make some at home!