I had been longing to go to Manrai for a while. It's located in busy Shinjuku, but the shop stands quietly, like a beacon of light in the crowd of passersby. While there are lines, the shop is so efficient that they move very quickly.
Though the tsukemen looked amazing, it was cold, so we both ordered the ramen.
The standard bowl comes brimming with toppings: a lot of spinach, bamboo shots, and a giant slab of chashu (which was a little tough and chewy). It's pricey, but I can say the cost is appropriate to the value.
The soup is tender and mild, and the noodles are a great match. Elastic and silky, they have a bright, whiter color than normal ramen noodles. The flavor is subdued, so the draw for this bowl is the easy slurpability of lots and lots of noodles, like a cross between ramen and soba.
That being said, this is a lot of food, and I probably couldn't have finished the bowl without Hearts' help. Ladies, you might want to adjust the noodle portion when taking an order. Just tell the master: Men, sukuname de onegaishimasu.
Manrai isn't extraordinary, but somehow, it's hard to stop slurping. This is nostalgic ramen for all kinds of people, and it showed in the shop's demographics: women, businessmen, families, and couples were all part of the clientele when we ate. This means that they've likely been serving the same taste, quality, and service for generations.
Tokyo, Shinjuku-ku, Nishi-Shinjuku 1-4-10
Closest stn: Shinjuku
Open from 11am-10pm