Wednesday, June 27, 2012

凪 煮干王 (Nagi Niboshi in Shinjuku)

ラーメン凪 煮干王 西新宿1階店

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The Nagi on the first floor, below the Nagi on the second floor, has closed. In it's place, another Nagi has opened. Not a lot of fanfare around this one, with an upcoming Omiya Nagi shop in the works sitting in the spotlight, but I had to give it a try. I like Nagi. A lot.

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The niboshi ramen here is nice.

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Good stuff, nothing out of the ordinary. Like I said, nice.

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One of the simplest menus around, the only three choices are shoyu, tokusei (all the toppings), and shio. A three-button ticket machine would suffice, if it weren't for the different sizes. When in doubt, just hit the upper left button.

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But then I saw the chef making something random. Surely there was no fresh-grated pecorino cheese on my niboshi ramen.

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An as-yet-unreleased limited menu item, jumping on the beef bandwagon.

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Matsusaka (松坂) beef! A quick breakdown of Japanese beef is in order. Matsusaka sits up top with Kobe and Yonezawa. All of these are just place names, the cattle are from the same breed of black wagyu. But the fame comes from the strict way the cattle are raised, as well as attention to lineage. The grain is very high quality, and yes, they are fed beer to stimulate appetite.

Nagi went ahead and used a pure beef stock, topped with a slice of the highest quality beef I've ever had in ramen. The only time I have had a better piece of beef was when I paid a week's salary out in Kobe. While cross-town Matador is probably the best and most refined bowl, this limited one at Nagi is a different beast all together. Not so sweet, it's a blast of umami meat juice that will probably sell out before lunch.

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By the way, all that Kobe beef you hear about in America is a lie. It's Japanese wagyu cross bred with angus, given average feed, and often kept completely sober. Good stuff that makes excellent burgers, but nowhere near what we have in Japan.




東京都新宿区西新宿7-13-7
Tokyo, Shinjuku-ku, Nishi Shinjuku 7-13-7
Closest station: Shinjuku

Open 11:00-23:00
Closed on some Sundays