Friday, September 2, 2016

麺屋一燈 Itto: second best?

Itto is one of the highest ranked tsukemen shops in the country. Among Tokyo shops, it comes in second on food-ranking site Tabelog (Japan's version of Yelp) right after Tomita. We had it a few years back at the Grand Tsukehaku Fest, but the OG shop is always the better bowl. Be prepared to wait well over an hour.

Hearts got the tsukemen...

Chashu noko gyokai tsukemen (1100yen)

...while Lum got the ramen.

Ajitama noko gyokai ramen (900yen)

These are tonkotsu gyokai exemplars. The tsukemen stands out for the noodles: thick and udon-like, with great bite and chew. All noodles are made in house.

The shop serves side pork chashu rice bowls, but you might as well add extra pork and chicken chashu on your tsukemen. This stuff is sliced thicker and larger than most any other tsukemen shop, and is prepared using a special steaming process that leaves the meat tender and pink, but cooked throughout.

Itto is known for a milder, smoother soup than gutsier bowls like Tomita or Seitoku. I prefer the former, but ladies tend to prefer the latter. It's great broth, made from top quality ingredients (sourced soy sauce, salt, French chickens, blends of dried sardines), though we remember it having more umami when we tried it at the Tsukehaku a few years back. Apparently, like many top shops, they underwent a "food renovation" and completely redid their recipe earlier this year.

The chicken meatballs, the shop's trademark topping, are still fantastic.

All ladies are given a sherbet dessert. Men are given the finger. Or an indifferent glance. I forget which one.

Itto is well-deserving of its stellar reputation, though I'm not sure any shop is worth waiting for several hours. Especially in a typhoon.

Tokyo, Katsushika-ku, Higashi Shin-Koiwa 1-4-17
Closest stn: Shin-Koiwa

Open from 11am-3pm and 6-10pm 


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