Monday, September 1, 2014

りきどう Rikido: thick-bottomed noodles

Rikido is technically in Gifu prefecture, but we decided to check it out since we were way out in the countryside paying respects to the graves of ancestors. When we arrived, we were the only customers inside, but we beat the rush. In less than 10 minutes, a line had formed against the back wall.

Mr. Rikido is a loud and strong master, whose countenance and demeanor is like the captain of an anime baseball team. He runs a clean and no-frills shop with an assistant, whose role is to be barked at. Rikido makes the ramen entirely himself.

This unfortunately leads to some inefficiency. Despite being the first customers for lunch, we had to wait nearly fifteen minutes for our bowls, which all came out at different times. Fifteen minutes is pretty good...for a diner. For a ramen shop, this could be a death knell, especially considering there were no other customers in front of us. Part of the reason for the wait is that Rikido measures out each batch of noodles, slices each shank of pork or seasoned egg, and arranges the ingredients in each bowl himself. Fresh and personal is no doubt what Rikido is aiming for.

Rikido also specializes in noodles made and cut in the store, minutes before your order is placed (he thankfully has the assistant do this part, or I might still be waiting for my bowl rather than writing this review for you). For the house-specialty tsukemen, there are four different options for the size and density of the noodles, and I opted for the biggest and baddest flat-sized noodle. Because 'Murica.

Sugohiramen tsukemen with egg (930yen)

The style here is a gyokai shoyu, heavy with niboshi accents.

The noodles are delicious and taste of fresh flour. But they are a poor match for the thin soup. I had to let the noodles practically soak in the bowl for any broth to cling to them. This is a salty soup. I asked for soup wari, and the master splashed a little ramen water in the bowl, but this hardly anything made any difference to the salt bomb.

Your better option is the traditional, no-frills ramen, with noodles of medium flatness.

Kohiramen ramen with egg (880yen)

Less salty and more balanced, I'll get this the next time I'm driving around in the middle of Gifu.

It's way out there, so for any Gifu readers, this is a decent option if you're prepared to wait.

Gifu, Gifu City, Shimasakaemachi 2-23
Closest stn: Gifu (closest in this case means 2.5 km away)

Open from 11am-230pm and 530-10pm


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