Tuesday, October 1, 2013

GACHI Abura soba: oil is good for you

Tomoharu Shono, the mastermind behind such experimental ramen shops like Menya Shono and 2-Chome Tsukemen GACHI, opens the shop dedicated to his latest obsession today in Akebonobashi. This time, his chosen muse is abura soba, a type of soupless ramen that focuses on oil, tare (sauce), and chunks of pork fat.

We were invited to a special pre-pre-opening to check out the new scene. Many thanks to Hiroshi of No Reason!! for being a gracious host.

The inside of GACHI is all clean wood lines and soothing bassa nova music. A compact counter that seats probably no more than a dozen, it's an intimate setting for what is traditionally an artery-busting bowl.

You have a choice between two types of noodles, both of which are freshly cut in the back of the shop from 100% Nippn durum semolina. Thin like Hakata-style tonkotsu...

Abura soba with hosomen (680yen)

...and the more typical thick noodles. Think udon-like thickness.

Abura soba with futomen (680yen)

The ingredients include some very high quality oil and fat, and the chef's secret tare recipe. A generous hunk of chashu, some purple sprouts, green onion, menma, and a slice of naruto round out the bowl. These are easily the most visually appealing abura soba I've ever seen.

The instructions are to taste the noodle first, then mix, mix, mix.

That visual appeal only lasts a few seconds. Bet you don't know that oil is not the artery clogger that everyone thinks. In fact, copious amounts of oil and fat have a sort of cleansing effect on the internal organs. Or at least that is what Shono-san claims. I, for one, believe him.

Both noodle types sop up the oil well...

...but you should definitely go with the thick noodle for your first time. The thin noodles tend to clump together and become soggy after several minutes of stirring and slurping.

The thick noodles, on the other hand, keep their chew and bite til the very end.

I don't know abura soba, but I know what I like. This bowl is outstanding, and another winner from Shono-san, who is gachi (seriously enthusiastic) about ramen and life.

Tokyo, Shinjuku-ku, Sumiyoshicho 7-10
Closest stn: Akebonobashi

Open from 11am-4pm


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