I love being surprised by ramen! The fact that it still happens, after a thousand or so shops is a testament to this genre of food.
Koike serves up essentially three styles, along with some limited bowls for good measure.
There's a niboshi-rich clear soup, a shoyu clear soup, and a thick soup. They all play off each other, with similar bases and toppings. I've got to go thick!
From the looks of this bowl, you are in for an intense punch in the palate. A seriously strong bowl.
But looks can be deceiving. The kotteri ramen at Koike is surprisingly smooth.
The egg was another surprise. Although it looks unseasoned, they soak it in a katsuo broth before serving. This imparts a huge amount of umami.
A few years ago, I thought that all upper-end eggs were the same. Not true! This one was noticeably different. Noticeably better.
Kami-Kitazawa is a little out of the way for many people, but for a shop like this it is worth a detour.
Tokyo, Setagaya-ku, Kamikitazawa 4-19-18
Closest station: Kami-kitazawa
Open 11:30-15:00, 18:00-21:00
Closed Wednesday and Friday