I finally made it here, to one of Tokyo's top ramen spots.
Ibuki is at the top for a reason; they bring the niboshi game. Dried baby sardines in this concentration aren't for everyone, not by a long shot. Are they for you?
Start at a normal ramen spot, one that serves a light shoyu ramen. It will have a bit of the stuff. That faint, smoky aftertaste is probably from niboshi, or other dried fish. It adds a lot of umami, and a bit of bitterness. It is this bitter flavor that divides opinions.
If you like it, head somewhere with a bit more niboshi punch. Most tonkotsugyokai tsukemen shops have a lot of these bitter dried fish flavors. Still loving it? Then head to Ibuki.
The menu has a few options. Go with the 濃厚中華ソバ, thick chinese noodles. The old addage of going to the upper right won't work here. It is 800 yen, and right in the middle. There is a lighter soup version and well as a super thick version, but they aren't available every time. The menu also changes slightly at lunch time. Good luck.
A thing of beauty. If you haven't guessed, I am a niboshi addict. Some of the best flavors in the world in my opinion. Smoky, salty, and a bit pungent.
So, is Ibuki the worthy king of niboshi? They have a 98.50 rating over at the Ramen Database, and a 4.04 over at Tabelog (putting them not only at #4 countrywide for ramen, but in the top 500 of all restaurants in Japan).
I'd say yes, this is one of the best bowls you could possibly slurp.
Official blog here.
Tokyo, Itabashi-ku, Maenocho 4-58-10
Closest station: Maenocho
Open 11:45-14:30, 18:30-20:30
Closed Mondays and some Tuesdays