Monday, June 16, 2014

トイ・ボックス (Toy Box in Minowa)

ラーメン屋 トイ・ボックス


Toy Box is another new-on-the-scene winner. Does this bowl look familiar?


The above shot is of the infamous 69 'N' Roll One. Ramen nerds rejoice, ramen nerds lament. The original Machida shop of 69 'N' Roll One was epic. Then they shut down to move to greener pastures in Akasaka, and their quality suffered. I'm sure there is a lot more going on here, some behind-the-scenes ramen drama (dra-men?). Speculation, as I have no knowledge of why one of the best ramen shops in the world suddenly disappeared.


It would make sense that those who worked at 69 'N' Roll would go on to do their own great things. Toy Box is a perfect example. Yamagami-san crafted his skills, and now has Toy Box to show for it.


Shoyu, shio, and an aburasoba made with chicken oil. The shop also has a miso ramen that comes and goes.


Chicken oil is a tough ingredient. It can ruin anything it touches, and a delicate balance is needed. Only a few shops really work wonders with this ingredient. Saikoro comes to mind.


The aburasoba is a tasty mess of oil, flavor, an noodles.


But it is the shoyu that really shines.

Shoyu that is definitely a cousin of the award wining Rock and Roll ramen. Deep soy flavors and perfectly cooked toppings.


Worth a trek to the eastern reaches of Tokyo.


Tokyo, Arakawa-ku, HIgashinippori 1-1-3
Closest staiton: Minowa

Open 11:00-15:00, 18:00-21:00
Sundays 11:00-15:00
Closed Mondays and some Tuesdays


braulio figueroa said...

Thank you so much for this post. It means a lot to me, more than anyone will know. I went to Japan for the first time this year (July 2016) and got to visit this location twice. Once by myself on a late night. Borrowed my roommates skateboard and rode 5 minutes to the shop. I walked in without any idea of what to do until I saw a local put money in the vending machine and select her choice. Out came the ticket which she placed on the counter after she sat down. After seeing that, I followed suite and put my yen in and randomly selected one of the available buttons. I can't read Japanese/Kanji/Hiragana/Katakana/whatever. I am ignorant and don't even know the difference. Anyway, I get my ticket and sit down close to the corner nearest to the kitchen dowm, place my ticket down and wait patiently inpatient. Then, as I sat there semi drunk and fully hungry, I saw what I can only describe as "The Art of Ramen" because that is truly how it felt! The head chef takes the girls ticket as well as mine and another customers. He then proceeds to make our ramen bowl. He scoops the broth into the bowl so carefree, yet precise. Then come the noodles. He portions them into a strainer and physically slams his arm in a swinging motion from the very top of his arm reach to the floor. The momentum of his swing keeps the noodles in place while compressing the excess water out. He repeats the process 2-3 times and it is oddly fascinating. Once strained, he "pours" the noodles into each bowl, one at a time. But he doesn't just plop the noodles into the bowl like some sort of savage. No. He then makes sure that the noodle strands are semi separated by picking them up with his hand and running them with his fingers into a twist that end up into the bowl. The finishing step, in this case, he adds the meat and egg. It was by far one of the best ramen bowls I have ever had. The second best for me is the ramen from Mitsuwa in the suburbs of Chicago. The third best was the ramen bowl I had the next day at Toy Box. Thank you for posting this. I was searching online for anything that would bring back the memory, even if it was only a short while ago, it will stay with me forever.

Brian MacDuckston said...

Awesome comment! Yes, ramen (and many other parts of Japanese cuisine) is an art form. You picked a great spot, too!