At last years Tokyo Ramen Show, the longest line was for the Toyama Black, an obsidian bowl from a few hundred kilometers away. Seriously, this place was hyped.
It might have had something to do with the slew of awards that this creation had been given. The All Asia Gourmet Contest ABC Grandprix! I have no idea what that means! There was a B gourmet boom in recent years and awards are as common the often overrated shops that win them.
But you gotta try it. Restaurant floors in expensive department buildings tend to fall on the expensive side, and ramen shops tend to be quite rare. They also tend to be of lower quality than their street-level equals. Yeah, ramen in department stores tends to be a losing endeavor. There are a few exceptions to the rule, would Toyama Black be among them?
The "black" here is twofold. First, of course, is the shoyu used. A very high quality, very dark blend that turns the soup it's signature color. The second is the special pepper on top.
Unfortunately, it isn't very good. Overly salty, and the pepper wasn't anything remarkable. I'm no expert on pepper, but it wasn't freshly cracked, the easiest way to level up your quality. They really should have done the "Would you like fresh ground pepper" routine, with staff doing the grinding at the table. "Say when!"
If you, by some chance, have come to this site looking for information about Toyama, don't take this negative review to heart! Toyama is a wonderful part of Japan that I have been to numerous times. As for food, they have excellent seafood, drawing from the Japan Sea / East Sea / East Sea of Korea. The same international issues that plague the naming of international geography lead to Toyama being multicultural and thriving. Eat some fresh hotaruika (firefly squid) and masuzushi (pressed trout sushi), and maybe try Toyama ramen in it's natural habitat.
Tokyo, Toshima-ku, Nishi-Ikebukuro 1-1-25 (Tobu Department store 12th floor)
Closest station: Ikebukuro