Rating: Very good
Price: 1800 yen
Payment: Cash only
Dishes: Shoyu wanton chashu ramen
English Menu: Yes
Well I had a treat last Saturday. Some friends of ours were having a baby shower and the other husband and I decided to try a Michelin star rated ramen joint near where they live. This is the first Michelin starred restaurant I've ever eaten at I believe
Getting in is the most unusual part, otherwise they operate just like any other ramen spot. If you want a guaranteed spot (11 to 3pm), you have to show up right when they open with the same number of people that you want to eat with and buy "tickets" (plastic laminated cards) for a 1000 yen deposit each. Then you come back around the time you are told and get in the long line. Eventually someone will come out and collect you and the tickets (giving you back your deposit), bringing you inside to buy your actual meal ticket from the vending machine. There is an English explanatory menu as well. After buying your meal tickets, you hand those over and are escorted back in line. I was a bit worried now as there was nothing to identify us beyond the person's memory of us. They come back out again and escort you back in just as your ramen is ready to serve. It's rather elaborate, but probably developed to handle the crowds of people that started clogging the place when they got famous.
Anyway, on to the ramen itself. We both chose their "signature dish", a shoyu (soy sauce) based broth, made with several different special soy sauces, including some truffle oil in there as well. I was a bit worried about it as truffle oil can be overwhelming and cloying if not used properly, but it was really just a hint in there and not inappropriate. The broth was quite delicious and not heavy like a tonkotsu broth. It was layered and complex, so for a connoisseur that would elevate it beyond the typical ramen for sure. The noodles were specially made and were thin, but a bit softer than usual, falling apart a bit in the mouth. Definitely lacking in the chewiness I prefer in noodles, but I do expect a bit from soba. They actually call the noodles "soba" but I'm sure they aren't buckwheat. Soba can be used in different context to mean different things. The charshu (roasted pork) was very delicious, using fatty portions but cut very thinly, and with an aromatic roasted taste. Lastly the wantons were quite tasty, with lots of noodly skin hanging off of them.
|Michelin star shoyu ramen!|
Overall, my friend and I both thought it was very good ramen, but honestly not the best we've had. It didn't really blow us away, which is what I would expect from a Michelin starred spot. That being said, if you are a ramen expert, it probably does provide some uniquely complex, though subtle flavors that might be a refreshing change from some of the overpowering richness of other styles. There are also at least 4 other ramen dishes on the menu that I wouldn't mind returning and trying, so maybe I'll update this review in the future if I have something truly mind blowing.