Thursday, January 23, 2020

麺ハチイチ (81 Noodle Bar in Kichijoji)


There is a nice Japanese izakaya in Nishi-Ogikubo that I go to sometimes. Higher-end stuff, with top-shelf uni, fresh nodoguro, and homemade karasumi on the menu. I was surprised when they said they had produced a couple ramen shops in the area. I was even more surprised when they said that one was Jiro-style.

The three shops in their group do very different styles. Buta (豚), wa (和), and abura (油). Pork, Japanese, and oil.

Dashisoba and aburasoba. With soup and without. When it comes to Jiro-style, I always go for the soupless if I can. Honestly, I can't hang with that intense pork soup. It ruins me every time.

Yes, if you look to the right of the menu, there is sake. More on that later.

This is Jiro-style ramen. For the love of all that is sacred, don't order a large size if you don't know exactly what you are in for. You may love vegetables, but the mashi-mashi veggie topping looks to be about half a kilo of bean sprouts.

Though I can't hang with Jiro, it is a thing of beauty. Chunks of silky-smooth back fat. Raw garlic marinated in strong soy sauce. Those thick noodles.

Mix it up. If it looks good, that's because it is. If it looks bad, it tastes better than it looks.

Since they are connected with a local izakaya, they have a great supply of premium sake. Go ahead and get your day drinking on, no one will judge you. I've spoken with sake experts about this before, and aged sakes like the 伊根町 in the middle go well with heavy ramen. The aging oxidizes the alcohol and brings out some interesting flavors. A good match.

Right next to Inokashira Park. For those reading this in April of 2020, be advised that they just announced the closure of this famous cherry blossom viewing spot on weekends in light of the recent Covid-19 problem.

Official site here.

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