Monday, January 23, 2017

宮元 (Miyamoto in Kamata)

煮干しつけ麺 宮元


I've crushed Miyamoto in the past, but only at tsukemen events.


He is one of the most revered tsukemen chefs in Tokyo. And according to the curated Tabelog 50, one of the best in Japan.


The upper left, in this case, is 特製極濃煮干しつけ麺, tokuseigokukoniboshitsukemen. Breaking it down we get special, mega-thick, dried sardine tsukemen.


You won't be alone, please observe the rules of the line.


This. Bowl.


Yeah, this one is tops. I have trouble ranking the upper echelon of thick tsukemen shops because each one is just so amazing. From the image, to the smell, to the first bite, to the lasting umami aftertaste. As the name of the shop implies, Miyamoto is heavy with niboshi, dried fish, particularly sardines. The creaminess of the pork, the bitter, smoky punch of the fish, and a hint of yuzu citrus to mellow the whole thing out.


And the line, though strict rules apply, wasn't that bad.

Map of 7 Chome-8-1 Nishikamata, Ōta-ku, Tōkyō-to 144-0051

Tokyo, Ota-ku, Nishikamata 7-8-1
Closest station: Kamata

Open 11:00-15:00, 18:00-21:00
Closed Wednesdays

Thursday, January 19, 2017

豚野郎 (Butayaro in Nakano)



I've struggled to find an amazing tonkotsu ramen shop near my home. Sure, Shinjuku's Kabukicho red light district is full of cheap spots, but I'm not looking for cheap.


Enter Butayaro. About halfway between Nakano and Higashi-Nakano Stations, right next to the big home supply store (if you live in the neighborhood, you probably know it). It's really not far from civilization, but it feels like it in the strictly residential neighborhood.


Go for the set. I'll explain in a minute.


A bit more intense than expected, which is a great thing when searching for above average tonkotsu. I found it less smooth than those shops as well, which matches perfectly with the name; Yaro means dude, so this shop could be called dude pork.


Normally, with this style, you would order kaedama, an extra serving of noodles. Here, though, it's all about zosui. A side of flavored rice gets dumped in. Dude pork for sure.


The rice amplifies the flavor in ways that noodles can't. Like I said, go for the set.


Go Carps! Apparently, the owner loves Hiroshima, and has a small collection of his favorite baseball team goods.


It's Ramenate!

Map of 1 Chome-41-45 Nakano, Nakano-ku, Tōkyō-to 164-0001

Tokyo, Nakano-ku, Nakano 1-41-45
Closest staiton: Nakano

Open 11:30-15:30, 18:00-22:30
Weekends 11:30-16:00, 18:00-22:30
Closed Tuesdays

Monday, January 16, 2017

多賀野 (Takano in Nakanobu)



Takano is one of Tokyo's legendary shops. They've been around for over 20 years, still serving the same classic bowl, still using quality Japanese ingredients.


Nakanobu isn't on many people's radars, especially tourists, but it well could be. Takano is just off the famous Skip Road, a covered shopping street that stretches 330 meters. It's a cool, old-school side of Tokyo, not that far from the center.


And despite the English menu, Takano is a cool, old-school ramen shop.


The hours may have been longer in the past, but now it is strictly lunch.


Classic Tokyo style. Two kinds of Japanese chicken are used for the stock, and plenty of dried fish for that smoky punch that defines Tokyo ramen.


The tsukemen soup is made from pork and duck, a solid match with the whole grain noodles.


Noodles that are made in house, and are a big draw for fans of this style.


Ms. Takano-san is still here, serving bowl after bowl to the masses.


The entire menu is actually quite extensive, with the spicy sesame bowl looking like another winner.


You'll probably wait 20-30 minutes, but you'll have checked off one that is worthy of a visit or two.


Map of 2 Chome-15-10 Nakanobu, Shinagawa-ku, Tōkyō-to 142-0053

Tokyo, Shinagawa-ku, Nakanobu 2-15-10
Closest station: Ebaranakanobu

Open 11:30-14:30
Closed Wednesdays