Friday, April 28, 2017

つけ麺 丸和 Maruwa: the little things

I'm running out of adjectives (and headlines) to describe well-prepared bowls of thick, tonkotsu-gyokai tsukemen. This one is delectable.

Maruwa tsukemen (830yen)

Maruwa's thick pork porridge is distinguished by the piping hot stone bowl its served in, keeping the soup hot til the very end, a problem with most tsukemen broths that become lukewarm by the last few slurps. The soup comes out bubbling and frothy, even if its a little too sweet.

The noodles are topped with bits of dried nori, which is another nice touch that you're more likely to find on a plate of soba noodles.

When every shop is serving such solid versions of the same bowl, it's the little things that can set you apart. Oh, and being located steps away from the train station - a rarity for good Nagoya shops - is another plus.

Aichi-ken, Nagoya-shi, Nakagawa-ku, Haruta 1-150-1
Closest stn: Haruta

Open from 11am-2pm and 6-9pm (closed Tuesdays)


Thursday, April 20, 2017

柴崎亭 Shibasakitei: limitless

Hearts wanted to eat a pure, old school shoyu ramen, but both of us have really wanted to come to this all-natural, preservative-free ramen shop for a long time. We expected not much of a wait since it's outside of central Tokyo, but when we arrived 10 minutes before the shop opened there was already a line of over a dozen customers. Expect to wait about an hour, but this is a pleasant area with nice obachan grandmothers walking around.

The menu here is very reasonable - the main ramen costs only 500 yen, and the deluxe (tokusei) or wonton versions are only around 850 yen. I ordered the wonton chuka soba...

Wonton chuka soba (850yen)

...and Hearts ordered the gentei limited bowl. When Hearts asked what the limited was, the master curtly replied, "The limited is the limited" (限定は限定です). This confused us, but apparently detailed info for the limited bowls are tweeted via their Twitter account ever week. So the limited is more of a menu item for regulars.

The regular shoyu is beyond description. The bowl is beautiful and, while dark, belies a very tender flavor. The wontons are marvelous, condensed umami; really my style. I personally think Shibasakitei might have even better wonton ramen than Tantantei or Yakumo (imho of course - apologies to fans of those shops!).

Hearts limited bowl was a bonjiri, or chicken butt, ramen, paired with a side bowl of chopped chicken butt over rice. Even though this was a shoyu ramen, the taste was totally different than the shoyu, with a deeper, roasted chicken flavor.

Gentei/limited (1000yen)
The spicy tare was GREAT

The master makes multiple limited bowls EVERY WEEK, which is definitely a first for us and shows how experimental and passionate he is with his ramen. He confused us with his off-putting attitude at first, but he is actually very polite and, importantly, extremely careful and particular with his work considering his large stock of menu options.

We'll definitely be back soon.

Chofu, Nishi-tsutsujigaoka 3-25-52
Closest stn: Tsutsujigaoka

Open from 11am-2pm and 6-1130pm (closes at 930pm on weekends and holidays)