Wednesday, September 4, 2013

ソルト Salt: chicken soup for the soul

If 2011 was the ramen year of tonkotsu gyokai, and 2012 was the year of jiro-kei, then 2013 - at least according to the magazines - might be the year of chicken-flavored soup and tori paitan, a brand of ramen whose soup is made entirely out of chicken stock.

Salt (or is it Solt?) is an all-chicken shop in my favorite part of Tokyo. Converted from what looks to be an old sushi restaurant, the vibe is quaint, 80s-era bamboo paper and wood paneling, a stark contrast to the sleek lines of modern joints, or the filthy digs of more masculine haunts.

The place is run by a very friendly and hard-working couple, with the duties separated in the same fashion as most ramen shops run by couples - pretty girl in the front seating customers and handling the register, rugged dude in the back making all the food by himself. Occasionally, the lady might place some chopped onions or chicken in the bowl if she has a spare hand, but the kitchen belongs to the man.

Salt has a large sampling of various chicken ramen, but half the bowls are priced inexpensively, permitting you to sample more than one bowl should you have an ambitious friend (I wish more ramen shops did this). We ordered the tori soba, a standard chicken ramen...

Tori soba (600yen)

...maru soba, a ramen with a light dipping broth...

Maru soba (600yen)

...and their house-special tori-paitan.

Tori paitan (730yen)

The tori soba and maru soba are clear, delicate broths of rich chicken stock, like ramen your mother would make you if you had the flu. The maru-soba is notable for its soup wari (water you to the rich soup upon finishing your noodles), enriched with yuzu tea and especially refreshing on a hot summer day.

The tori-paitan, on the other hand, is heavy, creamy chicken sauce covering every inch of the flat noodles. Salt has different noodles for every bowl, and they've opted to go with a sort of chicken-flavored alfredo fettucine here.

It works. Very, very well. Everyone else seemed to be grubbing out on the tori-paitan tsukemen, and for such a new shop there seemed to be a lot of regulars already. This is another good neighborhood shop for an area that could always use more of them.

Tokyo, Setagaya-ku, Kitazawa 5-36-13 1F
Closest stn: Shimokitazawa

Open from 1130am-130am


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