Shono-san's shops are legendary and legion. We've already been to his tsukemen shop, 2-Chome GACHI and his abura soba shop, also GACHI Abura Soba. For the first new shop of the year, we introduce Shono-san's original shop in Ichigaya. Shono dubs himself a "ramen creator," and his bowls are always coming and going at the whims of their creator's restless mind.
Shono's original ramen is a tonkotsu-gyokai blend, soaked in pork bones over two days, that is a very porky rendition of the ubiquitous bowl.
It's a solid bowl, but Shono is known for his wild, limited-edition creations. Here's a sampling of some of the stuff that Shono has offered in the past.
First up, one of his menu's staples, the kamatama tsukemen.
|Kamatama tsukemen (900yen)|
A fusion of abura soba and tsukemen, this is an extremely filling bowl that's now offered only in the summer. You mix the noodles with all the toppings - chashu, niboshi, green onions, raw egg, fried noodles - and have a few bites before dipping it in the broth.
Next up, the salmon tsukemen.
|Salmon tsukemen (980yen)|
A rich blend of salmon paste and tonkotsu pork broth, this is heartier than it looks, but the combination is terrific, giving the usual tonkotsu-gyokai mix a sharper, smokier flavor.
Last winter, Shono had a fantastic oyster tsukemen, with a sour oyster and pork broth filled with lemon slices, paired with noodles soaked in hot dashi water.
|Oyster tsukemen (1000yen)|
Basil oyster, menma pickled in ume sour plum, and two different spicy pastes rounded out this complex bowl.
This year, Shono has brought back his super-hyped foie gras bowl: a broth that blends rich fois gras paste with a tori paitan chicken stock, and topped with several generous slices of foie gras, extra foie gras oil, and some ume grated daikon for a refreshing kick. As usual, it has an exquisite attention to design and color.
|Foie gras tori paitan (1000yen - full disclosure, this bowl was eaten at sister shop GACHI)|
The noodles are thick and al dente, chewier than his usual ramen or tsukemen, almost like an Italian pasta in texture.
This is one of the richest bowls I've ever had. By the end of the bowl, I felt like I had downed 2000 calories. Due to extensive popularity, Shono-san is putting this bowl out until the end of January. You can only get it at his gotsubo branch, but get there early as it's limited to just 20 bowls a day.
Shono-san's bowls are delicious, but also works of art in and of themselves. In a world of ramen derivation, Shono-san is truly a singular genius.
Tokyo, Shinjuku-ku, Ichigayatamachi 1-3
Closest stn: Ichigaya
Open from 11am-3pm and 5-11pm (11am-5pm on Sundays)