Last summer Ramen Setagaya was clocking half-hour waits, making it, at the time, the Romulus of Ramen. But on Monday Hakata Ippudo assumed the throne with its thin noodles, rich broth, and minimal toppings. We stopped by yesterday evening hoping to beat the dinner rush and were told to wait at the bar.
Wait on Sunday night, 6:30 p.m.: 1 hour, 40 minutes
Wait on Saturday night, according to hostess: 2 hours
Downed at the bar: Two Kirin drafts, one sake-and-grapefruit-juice cocktail, one bowl of pickled vegetables, two complimentary bowls of dried noodles with cinnamon sugar
Wait music: Rage Against the Machine, Linkin Park
Outcome: Our party of four was led to an obscenely spacious semi-enclosed booth meant to seat eight. Score!
Another reason not to bail: The comfy padded armchairs at the communal tables aren't bad either.
Our advice: Kill time by shooting stick at Amsterdam Billiards a block away. Loser gets dinner.