やった! Few shops in Tokyo elicit that response from me at the mere sight of an open sign. Usually the reason for celebration is that I've been here before, multiple times, but never had a bowl. 69 'n' Roll One falls under the category of ramen shops that are so lauded that they can afford to take random days off whenever they please. So it took me 3 separate treks out to Machida, on the border of Tokyo, to actually try this bowl.
We gotta explain the name. 69 'n' Roll One? Sound it out in Japanese and it's ro-ku-n-roll-one. Let's roku!
The ingredients here are the absolute cream of the crop. Iberico pork, premium soy sauce, and oil rendered from Akita chickens. Yes, the ramen here is way up at the top.
The interior is built like a 50's diner. Some rockabilly paraphernalia here and there, a long counter, and the chef. Junichi Shimazaki is famed for his fashion sense as much as his ramen. Donning a punch-perm and cheetah-print shirt, he silently oversees what has been consistently ranked as the best in Tokyo.
Yes, I said silent. The place is totally silent. Even the staff of 3, including Shimazaki-san, communicate in muted whispers. This is no fluke, it is well known that the shop is a silent place of ramen refuge, where a ringing cell phone is equal to a death sentence. You might get away with a mumbled word or 2, but I wouldn't chance it.
Feeling very reserved, even a little frightened, I didn't take any photos inside. But if you want to see the master, check out the recent Lucky Peach magazine for a comical drawing.
So here is this shop, where you feast on the finest ramen in utter silence, raising the experience to an almost surreal level. You are intensely focused, and every bit, every smell and taste, is an almost religious experience.
Is what I would love to say. But the silent treatment is totally unnecessary. Or is it? I think it would be better if it was more. Shimazaki-san is stern, that's for sure, but he doesn't seem like a bad guy. I want to see the full on Soup Nazi treatment. People kicked out for taking too long at the ticket machine, cell phones grabbed and thrown out the door when they make the *click* sound after taking a photo, tears as a young man chooses ramen over his girlfriend.
Worth the trek for a ramen junkie.
Tokyo, Machida-shi, Haramachida 3-1-4
Closest station: Machida