Monday, May 20, 2019

E.A.K. in New York


I didn't plan on crushing any ie-kei ramen on this trip to NYC, but we got involved with some good sake at Sake Bar Decibel, and EAK wasn't far away.

Ramen x Beer. Yes! And no. Personally, I don't drink at ramen shops. I'm in the mindset that ramen shops are a get-in-get-out affair, and nursing a beer isn't in line with that mentality. But that neon sign is sweet.

Will this shop make my best-of NYC list?

EAK, spelled out, is pronounced 家系. Iekei ramen hails from Yokohama, originating at the infamous Yoshimuraya. It's Japan's eastern-style tonkotsu ramen, and it is intense. While Kyushu style tonkotsu is thick, this stuff is much, much thicker. The thick soup is matched with thicker noodles, topped with a trifecta of green spinach, nori seaweed, and negi green onion. The chashu is divine.

So what about this New York 家系 shop?

Props for their design, the shop is full of fun tidbits.

But first, ramen.

This one is awesome, and I would have never thought it. Iekei is a rather dirty style, full of fat and flavor, garlic and a touch of greens. As long as the funky doesn't get too funky, you've got a winner.

If I was giving out awards, this would be a late night bowl to keep in your back pocket.

Well slurped.

Thursday, May 16, 2019

アジア食堂パクパク (Pakupaku in Shinjuku)


This shop is only a three-minute walk from my front door. One minute if I run. Why would I run? I won't lie, sometimes I wake up late and run the short distance from my bed to Nishi-Shinjuku-Gochome Station to catch the subway. I have yet to be late for work or an appointment, but I have come quite close.

I was reluctant to come here. The previous shop in this building was called Mojito Table. They grew their own mint and served mojitos alongside a Thai / Western bar menu. But the service was terrible, and I got a bad vibe. Also, the mojitos were very overpriced and nothing special, so I vowed to never return. By the way, if you want great mojitos in Tokyo, head to 808 Lounge in Shimokitazawa. And tell Uno-san I said hello.

Back to my local spot.

Creamy tori paitan topped with some roasted chicken. I personally don't like chicken skin inside of ramen; I think the texture is too slimy. So once I removed the skin this one was ok. I don't dislike chicken skin, but that raw smell is something I try and avoid. Crispy chicken skin yakitori is one of the best things in Japan, but that's a different world.

So all in all, a bowl you might like. The shop is in a busy part of town, but down a secret alleyway, so I don't know if their business will work.

It looks like they do more of an Asian menu at night, so I'm not sure if they are still connected with that old mojito spot.

Monday, May 13, 2019

航海屋 (Kokaiya in Shinujuku)

航海屋 新宿店

I've been here many, many years ago in 2011, but was invited by Sebastian to come back. This was one of his favorite shops back in the day.

Nothing has changed. It's still a grungy shop in the heart of Shinjuku.

They still serve a heavy chicken and niboshi soup.

The still top their deal with a ton of tasty chashu.

They still have photos from their glory days of being featured on television by the big names in the ramen world. The guy on the right says it's the best ramen for a hangover.

They still have some great Engrish going on.

And though their other three or four shops closed, they are still serving up some tasty noodles.

Thursday, May 9, 2019

Ryu's Noodle Bar at the Shin-Yokohama Ramen Museum

Ryu's Noodle Bar

The newest shop at the Shin-Yokohama Ramen Museum is here!

This time it is from Canada. Toronto to be exact.

Did you find my book on the wall?

Ryu's Noodle Bar brings the tori paitan. Creamy chicken broth. How creamy can it be?

Follow the signs. This shop replaced Yuji, a shop that spent about a year and a half here. Yuji opened a normal shop in Tokyo, FYI.

This ramen is THICK! Some of the thickest chicken paitan I've ever had. 

A bit of yuzu to cut the creamy nature of a thick tori paitan broth, some tender chicken and roasted pork chashu, and a sprinkling of sesame. I am into this one. Be careful, the viscous nature of the thick soup means this bowl is very hot in temperature. Watch out!

To celebrate their Canadian-ness, some maple butter is on offer as a topping. If you thought this bowl was creamy, wait until you add butter. To be honest, I liked it, though it was almost over the top in terms of fatty flavors.

Japan x Canada.

Good luck at the museum!

Monday, May 6, 2019

麺処 以心 (Ishin in Shinjuku)

麺処 以心

A quick FYI, since I came here and the time this post went live, Ishin has shut down. The competition was just too high in the area. Too bad, especially since I really enjoyed this one. I even made a video!

Ishin seemed inspired by the incredible Mengyo, out on the east side of town. Here, in the heart of Kabukicho, this style of ramen was a welcome addition.

I hate using the past tense in my reviews. Ramen Adventures posts twice a week, which means that my pace of ramen eating turned this site into a huge #throwback. If you read my recent posts from Europe, which went up in April 2019, you might have thought I was out traveling. Actually, that trip was in September 2018.

So, though I crushed it, it will never be crushed again.

Well, you can always trek out to Mengyo.

Thursday, May 2, 2019

らぁ麺 鳳仙花 (Hosenka in Shinjuku)

らぁ麺 鳳仙花

Lighter fish as an ingredient in ramen has been all the rage these days, and Hosenka uses the elegant kinmedai as their choice of fish. 金目鯛 is splendid alfonsino in English, which probably doesn't help most people. If you live in Japan and enjoy fish, you are most likely a fan.

It is often served raw when in season at higher-end sushi shops. When cooked, the entire fish gets braised in soy sauce and mirin. It is a treat accentuated by the fish's golden orange color.

Don't expect your ramen to taste like your sushi or 煮物. Instead, it imparts a subtle ocean flavor into the broth. Have you had tai ramen before? Shops using tai snapper are much more common, and the two styles are quite similar.

This soup uses ara; leftover fish bones. While the kinmedai is the main, the rest is based on availability. Remember, fish is very seasonal in Japan, so you work with what you can get.

The eggs from a company called Maximum Koitamago are divine.

Apart from the excellent ramen, they do a kinmedai chazuke. Rice with a sliver of fish topped with left over soup.

An awesome shop in Tokyo's Kabukicho entertainment district. There are eight or nine ramen shops in half a square block here, so standing out can be a challenge. Hosenka stands out.

Those eggs though!

Monday, April 29, 2019

一番軒 (Ichibanken in Shinujuku)


New shop alert!

Actually, new shops are technically nothing new. If you can manage the Tabelog app (it's in Japanese) you can quickly bring up new restaurants in whatever genre you want in whatever part of Japan you want. 

I was with some serious ラーヲタ. Raota, or Ramen Otaku, are people who basically think about ramen and nothing else. Raota don't care if a shop is good or not. If they haven't been, they want to go. They suffer from the Pokemon mentality; gotta catch em all.

So we went to Ichibanken.

The shop is part of a larger ramen chain group, with over 20 shops to their name. The chain hails from Nagoya, Japan's third-largest metropolis. Nagoya tends to be a huge cauldron of citizens from the East and the West (of Japan), so there is a market for almost anything.

Good price and quality ingredients are what they bring to the table. I didn't ask, but it was written on the wall and on their website.

Normal stuff. Perfect for Kabukiocho, where the Tokyo shop is. In Nagoya fashion, they have chicken wings on the menu. Bonus!

Only 3972 more shops in the area to try. Gotta catch em all!