Monday, July 27, 2015

麺屋 ぬかじ Nukaji: satisfy my soul

While Hearts was away, I went on a ramen journey by myself. In the fashionable ramen battleground of Shibuya, I found a new place apparently run by a nice young married couple.

It's hot like death right now, so I ordered the tsukemen. For women, this looks like a big portion, but the noodles are amazingly silky and stimulating for the appetite.

Tsukemen (850yen)

The soup is thick like a potage. Well-balanced for a gyokai, but this is still a pretty familiar taste if you're used to Tokyo tonkotsu-gyokai style. It's a little too salty and strong for me, so this is probably more of a guys' bowl. I recommend just dipping into the broth a little bit and enjoying the taste and texture of the fine noodles. I'm looking forward to trying their ramen next time.

While the tsukemen might be typical, the shop itself has great atmosphere, with relaxing reggae music and friendly staff. They moved here from Kamimachi, but I bet many of their fans make the pilgrimage from Setagaya. If you get tired of bustling Shibuya, Nukaji will satisfy your soul.

Tokyo, Shibuya-ku, Udagawa-cho 3-12
Open from 11am-9pm (closed Sundays)

Closest stn: Shibuya


Friday, July 3, 2015

うさぎ食堂 Usagi Shokudo: rabbit seasoning [CLOSED]

Usagi Shokudo means "rabbit cafeteria." Less a crowded ramen cafeteria than a quaint Italian cafe, the place is decked out in a rabbit decor, with lots of rabbit figurines littering the shelves and tables.

There's no rabbit ramen on the menu, but the shop does serve up a gourmet tori paitan.

Torishiro ramen (950yen)

This is probably the most refined tori paitan in Tokyo. Made from choice chicken bones and tare that is comprised of high quality konbu and white soy sauce, the broth is smooth and rich, but removed of the heavy oils and cloying fats of lesser paitans. Even the toppings are elegant, with some excellent chicken chashu and fried burdock in place of the usual menma.

There's less soup than your average bowl but since it' s so thick, it pairs well with the thing home-made noodles to create a sort of tori paitan pasta.

The veggie tanmen is even more decadent, topped with fresh vegetables and premium slices of chicken and duck chashu.

Veggie tanmen (1500yen)

A nice touch: everyone gets a piece of garlic toast and some pickled onions to sop up any leftover broth.

These bowls are pricey, meaning they are difficult to consume on a regular basis, though unlike in other countries, when you pay premium in Tokyo for ramen, you get premium stuff. The cafeteria also has some cheaper tonkotsu-style chicken ramen options at only 500 yen, so hopefully the shop can please both the lunch and date crowd with their quality bowls.

Tokyo, Meguro-ku, Aobadai 1-30-12
Closest stn: Nakameguro

Open from 11am-10pm