Friday, March 30, 2018

Ichiran Ramen

Location: Ichiran Ramen

Rating: Very good
Meal: Dinner
Price: 1200 yen (estimate)
Payment: Cash only
Dishes: Classic ramen, bowl of meat substance, one half noodle refill
English Menu: Yes
Smoking: No

I met a friend from church in Yokohama for beer and discussion at Thrashzone last night.  He used to live in the area, so afterward he took me to some good ramen he knew, and it was quite the experience.  I had heard of Ichiran from a Tofugu article but never remembered to track one down to try it out.  

Map of seats
The allure is the simplicity and privacy of eating ramen by yourself.  There is a very simple ticket vending machine at the entrance, and then you are given a little form to fill out with all the details of your ramen choices (flavor:  mild to intense, noodles:  soft to super hard, and more...) while you wait for a spot to open up.  There are two long rows of little cubicles and when a spot opens up you are ushered to it.  There is a little screen that lifts so you can only see the lower half of the servers and they take your paper and bring you food.  You can pay for an extra helping of noodles (or a half) without leaving the booth, using the back of the chopstick paper holder which has more options.  When you are done you leave.  So it's a pretty solitary experience...but the little barriers can be folded back if you are sitting next to someone you know.

My options paper...this requires some knowledge of Japanese

But how was the ramen?  Actually pretty darn good!  It was hakata style tonkotsu, which I ordered with intense flavor, and at the spiciest level. I didn't expect much in the way of spice, but really heated up and I was sweating by the time I left.  There was so much broth left after my noodles were gone that I ordered another half helping.  I also ordered some meat on a plate which had a kind of canned flavor, but worked fine once dumped in the ramen.  My friend paid for my ramen, so the price above is an estimate of what my total would have been.

The little booth

Definitely an interesting place, and I would come back or bring people here for a different ramen experience.

Ramen with meat dish, and a little pot with more spice

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