Monday, July 30, 2018

麺昇 神の手 (Kaminote in Koenji)

麺昇 神の手

What the heck is that!

Kaminote opened in May, 2017 and was given the #2 rookie award in the original category. Original is an understatement.

Garlic shrimp ramen.

The restaurant is more of a teppanyaki spot than a ramen shop. Different dishes get fried up on the iron griddle. Yakisoba, okonomiyaki, and things like scallops with garlic. The menu is large, and there are drinks to go with it all.

As for ramen, choose from seven different types.

I had to try the オムラーメン, ramen topped with a Japanese-style omelet and roast beef.

Super interesting, this one gets a recommendation. Don't expect showa-era traditional food here, just something fun and new. The base is a tomato soup, in line with the whole omelet theme.

Yes, they have regular ramen as well.

Website here.

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Soranoiro Factory & Lab. in Asakusabashi

ソラノイロ Factory & Labo

Jiro-style from vegan friendly Soranoiro? What has the world come to?

The Soranoiro group gained fame for their excellent flagship shop's chukasoba as well as their veggiesoba, a bowl of vegetable-rich ramen that can be made with minimal or no meat.

Jiro-style is about as meat as you can get. Intense pork soup covered in rendered pork back fat.

ベジ郎, bejiro, takes the word for veggie and combines it with jiro. Fun! The concept here is unique. You get 400g of food. Customize that how you like; 200g noodles and 200g veggie is the normal choice. I'm trying to limit my carbohydrate intake, so 100g of noodles with 300g of vegetables sounds about perfect.

Plenty of ramen reading available.

But I brought my own! Ramen at Home. Did you buy your copy yet?

Met up with my friend Michael and his daughter for this one.

This bowl is great. I'm not a fan of Jiro in general, but a version with a variety of fresh vegetables really did me over. Usually Jiro is only bean sprouts and a few pieces of leaves. Bejiro has carrots, okra, and more than enough crisp cabbage.

You probably won't crush this one, but you'll definitely enjoy it.

Website here.

Monday, July 23, 2018

麺屋 龍神 (Ryujin in Tokiwadai)

麺屋 龍神

Let's make a YouTube video!

I met up with Sam, a YouTuber in the Japan YouTube scene. This is his neighborhood, and this is his favorite shop. A few weeks later, I had a computer meltdown, and lost all the footage from this day. So don't expect anything of the video sort.

Sorry about that! I even got a couple nice comments from the master.

Let's talk about the ramen. Their namesake (upper left of the ticket machine) is a tonkotsu shoyu blended with sesame paste. The creaminess of the pork soup and the creaminess of the sesame make this one a doubly smooth bowl.

They also carry a shoyu and some limited bowls, but I can't imagine them being better than the sesame version.

On a side note, I met up again with Sam at a later date. We filmed ramen at a conveyor belt sushi shop. On that same day, he put his GoPro on the belt and filmed a video that went viral (almost a million views in a couple days). This also brought some problems with media and what not. Good times in Tokyo!

Check his channel here.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

麺屋 焔 (En in Oimachi)

麺屋 焔

Goodbye Oimachi! I have been working in this part of Tokyo about half the Wednesdays of the year, teaching English to first year students at a beauty school. But Wednesdays are now, along with all other weekdays, for ramen and ramen alone.

I would almost always eat at ajito ism, but decided to try something new in the area. En does a standard, comforting shio ramen, located on the town's main shopping street. Simple is best? I can't even compare this one to my favorite ajito ism, as the two are light years apart.

Monday, July 16, 2018

感麺道 (Kanmendo in Takadanobaba)


Kanimiso ramen?

The "miso" in question is another word for the brains. Crustacean brains are amazing, rich in umami, with an almost creamy taste. Growing up in California, I remember my family cooking freshly caught dungeness crab, and throwing away anything that wasn't normal crabmeat. I was young, and consider this a form of culinary abuse.

The ramen here is topped with Shanghai mitten crab and snow crab. Blend that with a simple katsuo-rich soup and you have a unique, only-one style ramen at Kanmendo. Of course, this shop is in Takadanobaba, one of Tokyo's most famous ramen battle zones. So while this one is decent, it's probably a ways down on the local list.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

長浜ナンバーワン (Nagahama Number One in Ookayama)

長浜ナンバーワン 大岡山店

More iPhone photos. Apologies.

Number One hails from Kyushu. I was eating with a Fukuoka native, and he wanted to see if this one held a torch to the original shop.

Standard tonkotsu ramen. For me, I can usually think of an interesting description of why excellent tonkotsu ramen is excellent, or why bad tonkotsu ramen is bad. Standard is just, well, standard to my taste buds.

Decent enough, and now I would like to try the original shop myself.

Monday, July 9, 2018

間人 (Manin in Jiyugaoka)


Apologies for the terrible iPhone photos. I was out, camera-less, for sushi with a friend, and he insisted on crushing a few bowls. Who am I to say no?

Manin is an above average (price-wise at least) shabushabu restaurant in the evenings, serving up thinly sliced 黒豚 Berkshire pork to be dipped in their homemade dashi. It looks fantastic, but it's a dinner only thing. Lunch is tsukemen.

The lunch sets all come with a rice bowl on the side. Seasoned whitebait on rice. Tasty.

The tsukemen is a simple affair, served in wooden trays often found at soba shops. Paired with a pork-infused dashi and you are good to go. I don't imagine many people know about this spot, but if you are in the area, check it out.

Website here.

Thursday, July 5, 2018

麺庵 ちとせ (Menan Chitose in Shinjuku)

麺庵 ちとせ

Who doesn't love a good Japanese-style tantanmen? Japanese tantanmen tends to be lighter, using a ramen soup to give the heavy spices a bit of balance. Underlying umami with a kick.

Chitose serves up a few choices; shio, shoyu, and tantanmen. The shio and shoyu both come with some amazing looking chashu, so I ordered myself a mini bowl of chashu over rice. And a beer, which unknowingly came with some chashu as well.

Definitely a recommended bowl. As always, the I could go for more spice, but that comes with the territory. Unless something in Japan is advertised as extremely spicy, it probably registers at about a 1 on the spice scale.

I'm not complaining, but I didn't really need the extra rice bowl. Get one to share, or get a beer with the service side of chashu.

Along with the shio and shoyu, they also offer a soupless tantanmen, and what looks like a regular appearance of limited bowls.

Monday, July 2, 2018

葉山 (Hayama in Shinjuku)


Did you see the amazing documentary Ramen Heads? Probably not, as it is still in very limited release. It follows one chef, but has some fun vignettes about other ramen shops in Tokyo. Hayama, a tiny shop that opened in 2014, makes a brief appearance. 

One guy runs the whole operation. He preps, he cooks, he serves. And he only serves one thing; chukasoba.

Homemade noodles, additive free, and amazing. Instead of using MSG, 煮干 dried sardines give this one a lingering umami. It's the kind of rough, comfort food that ramen nerds in Japan are flocking back to after the recent gourmet trends. Simple is best.

The only menu choices are the amount of noodles, and choices for extra pork, which are usually sold out if you don't arrive early.