When I didn’t bring lunch to work the other day, Canal Street Market was the obvious choice since it’s so close and has plenty of options. This time, I wanted to try something new, so I went to Kuro-Obi, a ramen shop by the Ippudo folks. Ippudo is an NYC fave so I knew it would be good.

There are several options, all relatively similar. The toppings are pretty much the same across all of them, the difference lies in the broth. I went with one of the $11 ones (vs. the $13 options), which meant I could add an egg. I’m glad I did because it was cooked well and added some nice flavor and made the broth even creamier. Overall, the ramen was delicious and the broth was almost creamy. It needed a bit of spice, but once I added a hit of sriracha, the flavor was on point. Also, it’s perfect portion size for lunch.

I also ordered the pork buns because I felt like I had to. I love a good pork bun and not everyone makes them well. Ippudo happens to make some great ones so I had high hopes. Unfortunately, they were just fine. I expected more from Ippudo people and at $8, these should have been better.

If you’re near Chinatown but want Japanese (because, no, they’re not the same thing), this is a great option. Stick with the ramen, don’t bother with the buns, and be sure to add a touch of spice. Ramen is typically a quick meal, but Kurt-Obi has managed to create a legit fast food concept without sacrificing quality. And for that, I say bravo.