NEW YORK (Circa) - Takatoshi Nagara is bringing the tastes of Japan to the United States at Mr. Taka Ramen in New York City.
Nagara and his partner Takayuki Watanabe, who both go by the name Taka, are offering a seasonally-changing menu of different styles of ramen at their Lower East Side restaurant.
Whether it's miso, tonkotsu, or shoyu ramen, Mr. Taka is working to offer a well-rounded menu of ramen, giving the customer options to explore a range of styles.
"Ramen is a very traditional type of dish. But a new type of ramen we can make," says Nagara. "So it's very creative."
Nagara says today that there isn't much of a difference between eating ramen in New York compared to Tokyo.
"Now it's all the same. Fifteen years ago was so different. In New York there were no ramen restaurants. Just a few," says Nagara. "But now there are so many ramen restaurants here. American people eat ramen a lot, so now it's always changing. I have to make new ramen so many times. So, it's hard."
Nagara says the availability of high-quality ramen in the city is what drives him to be constantly changing his menu. He travels back and forth between New York and Tokyo, where he owns the Michelin-rated ramen shop Bigiya, multiple times a year to make new seasonal menus.
The travel takes it's toll on Nagara, though.
"It takes 30 hours, so it's hard," he says. "But it's fun. It's fun."
Originally published 11/21/17