Friday, February 7, 2014

麺屋 黒琥 Kuroko: shibuya late night slurps 3

The last stop on our all-night Shibuya slurpathon (see parts 1 and 2) is Kuroko, which occupies a corner that used to be several other shops that couldn't stay in business, the last one some kind of wrestling themed ramen. The location is pretty great, a few steps away from Goodbeer Faucets, one of the best craft beer bars in Tokyo, and just a few more steps away from the best stack of indie movie theaters in the city.

I just happened to be watching a John Cassavetes retrospective with a friend when we decided to head to this new shop. Nothing like watching dysfunctional relationships disintegrating painfully before your very eyes to get you hungry for a bowl of noodles.

Sleek black and brown interior

Kuroko is a tonkotsu shoyu shop that hails from Toyosu, an eastern area of Tokyo. This particular shop is an ie-kei, or "house style" ramen, a style that originated at a shop in Yokohama called Yoshimura (and which I hope to visit someday). Ie-kei typically consists of a very porky broth, lots of soy sauce, some spinach, a few sheets of nori, and some thick and chewy noodles.

To be honest, I'm not the best judge of ie-kei. It's too damn oily, and I've never had one that really gets that pork essence like a good Hakata tonkotsu bowl. Maybe all that shoyu gets in the way. Or something. Anyway, down to the bowl, which my friend ordered with extra cabbage to soak up some of the oil.

Kuroko ramen with cabbage and extra menma (950yen)

Kuroko's unique twist is their large, grilled slices of menma, which are pretty tasty. They also drizzle their standard bowl with mayu burnt garlic oil, which is always welcome.

Otherwise, the rest of the bowl is pretty bland, something you wouldn't expect from this kind of ramen, and midway through it even tasted a little sour.

It might hit the spot after several delicious craft beers, but it didn't go down well after watching Lynn Carlin and a shockingly young Seymour Cassell play pattycake in bed (lord knows what it would have tasted like had I watched Gena Rowlands go bonkers).

Anyway, they're open until 5am, which puts you at right around the first train out of town. There are better shops in the area, but the best usually close early to horde themselves off from the drunken zombies that wander the Shibuya streets.

Tokyo, Shibuya-ku, Maruyama-cho 1-19
Closest stn: Shinsen

Open from 11-5am


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