Ramen Nagomi | The Best Ramen in NJ
A few years ago when I first heard the word "ramen," I would think of the 70s-designed, Styrofoam cups with freeze-dried corn and peas. And the way they would smoke green and black toxins into the air if you forgot to add water before putting them in the microwave (shout-out to my sister).
Now, when I hear ramen – I jump right up; I’m in, where are we going?
My Introduction to the world of Ramen
I had ramen for the first time after my team moved into our new office in New Brunswick, NJ. Most of my team went to Rutgers and were familiar with the area. Which meant they knew where to get the best ramen.
A Ramen Addiction
Ramen Nagomi is on George Street, in New Brunswick, NJ, a block from the courthouse.
As found on their website, Ramen Nagomi is named after their namesake “Nagomi, a Japanese character that means comfort, harmony, and Japan.”
The entrance is down a steep brick staircase, which is both strange and whimsical for New Brunswick.
Where can you park?
Parking is basically impossible in New Brunswick. Despite the fact that Ramen Nagomi is surrounded by parking lots, metered parking is the only option outside of the restaurant.
Or, you can go over four blocks over by Destination Dogs and park in the Super Fresh deck.
Ramen Nagomi | The Interior
You would think walking downstairs into the restaurant would make it dark, but it isn't. The interior is amazing. Gorgeous, bright and simplistic, it's everything I love.
The seating is limited since Ramen Nagomi is a small restaurant. Two and four-person tables line the walls with the two tables of six in the middle of the room.
If you're a party greater than six, you cannot push the two tables together since it is a fire hazard. You will have to divide your party between the two tables (with the gap in between) or smoosh everyone around one table.
You can also sit at the “bar” style counter that faces the main windows.
Ramen Nagomi Menu
If you have to wait for a table or ordering takeout, there’s a pretty menu display near the front door.
What to Order | Appetizers
As you know from my previous post, I adore appetizers. So far at Ramen Nagomi, I’ve had the takoyaki and fried gyoza.
Takoyaki | $6
Since this was also my first time trying takoyaki, I didn’t know how many to expect per dish. Luckily these were fresh, hot, and delicious. I could eat the whole bowl myself.
Fried gyoza | $6
Pork pot stickers which are pan-fried brown and crispy. These were a hit with our team. I recommend getting two orders for a group.
As a first-time Ramen eater, I remember I spent a lot of time googling the ingredients.
Dashi, kikurage, nori -- despite being a foodie I had no idea what these ingredients were. I looked across the table and found my co-workers googling the menu too. Okay, I'm not the only one...
Yet this didn't help me choose a ramen. I knew I couldn't handle spicy, so that cut out a few options. I didn't need a vegetarian option either... yet which should I choose?
And then I saw it: burnt garlic.
Yes, garlic! The Italian in me cheered. I knew what to order.
Burnt Garlic Tonkotsu Ramen | $14
The tragic part of ordering ramen is that it does not photograph well as it looks in person.
As you can see, Ramen Nagomi gives you a giant-sized bowl of ramen.
It has with sweet corn, melt-in-your-mouth pork belly, and the magical soft-boiled egg (among other ingredients).
The noodles are thin and the broth is rich with the drizzle of burnt-garlic oil. It is an out-of-this-world ramen dish.
There's no elegant way to eat ramen
I learned quickly that I wasn't going to get a spoon or knife. Just my chopsticks and a lot of slurping. I used the round, fat spoon (for broth) to orderly scoop noodles, pork, corn and scallions into one bite. It was delicious.
Despite the fact that this was a lunch break, I had enough time to finish my entire bowl (to the surprise of my team). The pork belly was unreal as was the soft-boiled egg. They are my favorite parts of the dish.
Truffle-Butter Ramen | $14
A recent trip to Ramen Nagomi presented this seasonal ramen. Also being a fan of large amounts of butter, I ordered this one.
As you can see from their description, this seasonal ramen has similar ingredients to the burnt-garlic ramen. This broth is lighter and more mellow, but just as good. With this ramen, you have to order the amazing soft-boiled egg as an extra ingredient.
Why it's the best in NJ
I've tried two other ramen restaurants. So far, both provide a good meal yet neither compare to Ramen Nagomi. Even if you don't live in Middlesex County, I recommend you take the drive to New Brunswick.
Until I find as good of a ramen spot, Ramen Nagomi is ranked #1 in NJ for me.
Do you know of other New Jersey Ramen restaurants I should try? Tell me about it in the comments!