Tuesday, March 28, 2017

維新 Ishin: persistence

We tried to come out here several times, but were always turned away by some random occurrence. One time, their floor was apparently leaking to the basement shop below and they had to close for a few days for repairs.

Don't let obstacles deter you. Ishin is a fantastic addition to the growing list of refined shoyu bowls of ramen in Tokyo. Get the special (特) shoyu ramen, which comes with a half-boiled egg, extra pork and chicken chashu, and wontons. Always. Get. The. Wontons.

Tokushoyu ramen (980yen)

Everything in this bowl is excellent, and the slightly thinner-than-usual noodles are elegance embodied in ramen form.

The lunch special is a grilled chicken bowl for a breezy 150 yen. That's a ton of high-quality food for roughly a ten spot. Sometimes I hesitate to put any of this stuff online, for fear that my favorite shops will be flooded by rude tourists, but we trust our fellow Ramen Lovers to be courteous and well-behaved slurpers.

Expect a line at all times of the day, especially now that foreigners have discovered it with its inclusion in the latest Michelin Bib Gourmand list.

Tokyo, Shinagawa-ku, Kamiosaki 3-4-1
Closest stn: Meguro

Open from 1130am-3pm and 6-10pm (closed on Sundays)


Friday, March 10, 2017

中華そば こてつ Kotetsu: the locals

Full disclosure: Hearts and I nearly got in a fight over my writing about our new favorite shop in Shimokitazawa. We've been here way too many times, and he tried to convince me to keep it under wraps as our little sanctuary, but then freaking Ramen Adventures wrote about it, so I figured it was time to share it with the world.

Tokusei chuka soba (850yen)

I was craving this kind of ramen in Shimokitazawa. The owner is young and very nice. Here, you can enjoy old school shoyu ramen for a very reasonable price. The shop trends toward the more modern interpretation of an ultra clean shoyu broth using a mix of niboshi, pork, and vegetables, but with none of the funky sardine smell. Every time I sip this soup, I'm filled with tender emotion as it penetrates my body. The shio ramen, by the way, is also excellent.

Tokusei shio ramen (850yen)

The noodles are silky and have a good balance of chewiness.

And the chashu! How does he create such good chashu? I should ask him directly. The style of chashu is similar to my beloved (and shuttered) Metoki, prepared slightly raw and lean like roast beef. The juices will flow into your mouth with every bite as you feel the umami. Also, the wontons were made with great shops like Yakumo in mind, so they are also tasty.

I still can't believe the regular ramen here is only 650 yen. On top of that, the special tokusei (pictured) has wontons, egg, and extra chashu for just a couple hundred yen more. Usually these bowls are 1000 yen+ these days, so it's a small miracle that Kotetsu can provide such high quality without passing much of it on to the customer.

I've tried my hardest, but I don't think I can express in words how much I love Kotetsu. This is what I'm looking for when I go hunting for ramen, and I pray for their continued success.

Tokyo, Setagaya-ku, Kitazawa 2-39-13
Closest stn: Shimokitazawa

Open from 1130am-3pm and 5-1030pm (closed Tuesdays)