Tuesday, January 5, 2010

麺屋武蔵 (Menya Musashi in Shinjuku)



An adventure to the Yokohama ramen museum was the adventure of the day. I woke up early, packed my camera, and caught the 10:45 Yamanote train to Shinjuku station. Fellow ramen nut Nate was there. Two more would be joining us soon. Or not. Due to some circumstances that have no business being on a ramen blog, the rest of our group couldn't make it. Plan B. So where to go?


News stand to the rescue. In Japan, you will never find a news stand without at least one or two ramen magazines.


What did I tell ya. We thumbed through the local shops, trying to figure out what looked good. Then we saw it, the original Menya Musashi.


Only a couple minutes walk from the station.


Musashi is a reference to the warrior Miyamoto Musashi, the famed master of double sword style. How would the legendary swordsman feel about a chain of ramen shops opening in his name?


Probably ok, since their salary for new "warriors" is quite high. 1200 yen hourly, or for the full timers, 323,000 yen. That's more than I make!


Waiting in the line of about 20 people (18 of which fit inside the store), you can see what's in store. Yes please!


Not sure why, but out of the dozen seats, maybe 10 people were eating the tsukemen. Not me, the thought of that giant, juicy 角煮, kakuni pork, looks amazing.


It should be noted that Musashi is really really famous. The shop exploded onto the ramen scene in 1996, winning acclaim from the budding world of ramen craziness. This is a pioneer in, well, good ramen. Since then, they have opened 8 shops, each one varying slightly. My favorite branch is the Kichijoji one, which has seasonal experimental noodles coming and going quite often.


The decor is fun. Have a seat!


You can choose the strength of the broth, and the size of the bowl. Today I went with weak soup and big size. And it was good. The pork is really decadent. Stewed in sweet Japanese wine and soy sauce for hours, it melts like butter.


The strong soup version isn't too much stronger.


And the tsukemen was so-so. It's winter now, so I want my soup and noodles hot. I'll be back to some tsukemen in, say, June.


The staff of about 10 are very animated, especially the head noodle guy. With a swift motion of a samurai executing a blow in a duel, he shakes the noodles out of the water and puts them into your bowl. Trust me, you'll hear it from outside on the street, before you see it.


This shop is a safe bet for visitors as well as ramen veterans alike.

Official Website

More Shop Info Here