The highly Instagrammable Neighborhood Ramen storefront beckons you to open its doors. Once inside, the laid–back order–at–the–counter setup and plenty of menu advice will leave you with a steaming bowl (or two) of ramen. You sit on the outdoor patio, surrounded by muraled walls, ivy colored bricks, and string lights, while enjoying pulsating music as you feast. Upon exit, one thing is for certain: You will be coming back.
Long hailed as a ‘student-staple,’ instant ramen is essentially ubiquitous at this point; but Neighborhood does it differently. Everything is homemade, from the noodles to the broth and toppings. Hours of prep during the day prepares for the dinner rush.
Located in Queen Village, Neighborhood Ramen is truly a community-based operation, surrounded by houses and other local shops. Before owners Lindsay Steigerwald and Jesse Pryor opened in 2019, they would advertise on Instagram for pop-ups in different parts of the city. Their permanent space offers a range of offerings.
Perusing the menu, the options are laid out in a vibrant table for ease of choice. But don’t worry if you aren’t privy to all the different types of ramen they have, because an employee will be glad to assist. I tried their dashi and tantanmen broths, which were very different yet equally delicious. The dashi broth is a “clear shoyu fish soup”; its seafood base was light and pleasant. The tantanmen had a much thicker consistency, a strong sesame pork flavor, and a slight spice. It was rich, creamy, and spiced to perfection. Between the two, the tantanmen was more filling, so your hunger level might influence which broth you choose.
As for the toppings, the pork soboro and pork belly were delectable. Don’t fret if you don’t eat meat, because there are several vegan options, including Yasai Paitan and Vegan Tantanmen. Each bite was tender and mouth–watering: Imagine a crunch of bamboo shoots (menma), a burst of scallion (negi), a garnish of seaweed (nori), and a bit of pork with broth. The interplay of flavors was complex and left me wanting more. I am excited to try the two dishes I haven’t yet had.
A diverse patronage constitutes Neighborhood’s clientele, all the way from seasoned community members to college students. But beware, it can get busy, so make sure to join the online waiting list if the tables are full. If you’re a night-owl, you can get dinner there up until 10:30 p.m. (closing time)!
As my feet hit the pavement, walking to the tempo of the slowly fading music, stomach full of warmth, I was glad to have been there. For reasonable prices, helpful service, a refreshing ambience, and a community touch, Neighborhood Ramen should be on your list.
As the leaves change, we want a change in diet, a shift towards broths and stews, and inevitably, ramen. Soup Season has found another casualty. And I’m not mad about it.
TL;DR: Delicious homemade ramen with a community touch in Queens Village.
Location: 617 S 3rd St.
Hours: Closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays, 5 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. Thursdays through Mondays, with additional lunch hours on Saturdays and Sundays from 12pm to 3:30 pm.