Don't get confused by the shop just a couple storefronts down called Manrai. The owner of Horiuchi used to work at Manrai, but left to open his own shop after the original owner of Manrai retired and the building was subsequently torn down and rebuilt (and the original shop was reopened with a second owner). While we were waiting in line, a lot of salarymen were entering, slurping quickly, bumping elbows on the tightly packed counter, and leaving one after the other. The staff here is briskly efficient and knows how to quickly turn over a lunch counter. We got seated quickly.
We were surprised at the giant chashu and the noodles which seemed to run off the edge of the bowl. The standard ramen betrays its heritage and looks pretty much the same as Manrai. It's difficult to say which place is better. For me, the chewiness and smoothness of the noodles at Horiuchi made the biggest impression, like eating inaniwa udon from Akita prefecture. This is a heavy bowl, but the noodles are so silky that you can't stop slurping.
|Zaru chashumen (1150yen)|
Hearts got the chashu tsukemen, which is called zaru here. The portion of noodles is huge, covered in dried nori. The soup is a little different from the ramen, saltier, a little sour, and containing a lot of ground red pepper. I think I'd crave this bowl in the summer because I could feel like I'm eating zaru soba, but still have that heavier ramen flavor.
For an extra 300 yen, you get a whopping pile of pork. As you can see, there's a lot of meat.
If you want to gobble high quality, old school shoyu ramen in a peaceful atmosphere surrounded by determined salarymen, Horiuchi is a little haven in bustling Shinjuku.
Tokyo, Shinjuku-ku, Nishi-Shinjuku 1-4-7
Closest stn: Shinjuku
Open from 11am-9pm (closed Sundays)