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Ramen in Tokyo via New York Times

Silverjay Jan 30, 2010 06:21 AM

So who cares that it only took them 15 years to uncover Japan's ramen boom? The New York Times has a fun, thorough investigation with visits to many shops and plenty of links worth exploring in this article on ramen in Tokyo- http://travel.nytimes.com/2010/01/31/... . I suspect a regular or two from this board was involved in the author's well done research.

  1. Lina Jan 30, 2010 06:02 PM

    I just saw that, and was surprised to realize that they hadn't covered this story before!

    1. gkanai Jan 30, 2010 06:44 PM

      Nice to see ramen covered in the NYT. It would be more interesting to juxtapose the Michelin starred restaurants in Tokyo vs. the ramen joints :)

      1 Reply
      1. re: gkanai
        lost squirrel Jan 31, 2010 05:45 PM

        I remember sending this to my parents after I first tried Jiro:


      2. kamiosaki Jan 31, 2010 11:53 PM

        You suspect correctly sir.

        1. s
          Scharn Feb 28, 2010 01:03 AM

          Ganko, Ikaruga, Nagi,Gogyo, Ivan ???

          I suppose all these shops are above average, but why this weird selection. Where are top shops? Why have a Ganko in the list and not Kissou, why not Tetsu? Why not Rokurinsha. And where is Kururi? Why not Warito?

          Again, none of these shops is bad, but I can easily find you a better replacement for every single one of them...


          23 Replies
          1. re: Scharn
            kamiosaki Feb 28, 2010 04:40 AM

            Matt reached out to the other bloggers and me quite extensively before finalizing his list of shops. I believe the list of places he ultimately decided on and visited provides a reasonably diverse cross-section of the ramen available in Tokyo.

            If I'm not mistaken all 5 of the alternate shops you suggested specialize in tonkotsu gyoukai. If he had only gone to the top 10 shops as ranked on Supleks, at least 7 of them are tonkotsu gyoukai.

            1. re: kamiosaki
              Scharn Feb 28, 2010 06:08 AM

              Don't get me wrong, these choices are not bad, but i really wonder why? I just feel that maybe with the exception of Bassanova none of the shops mentioned stands out.

              1. re: Scharn
                kamiosaki Feb 28, 2010 02:14 PM

                Well, feel free to post here the 17 shops that you would have instead recommended that he go to, and then we can compare lists.

                Yes I know the ones he went to aren't bad - as I said above, I think it was diversity of taste, presentation, the store itself, appeal to visitors etc., as much as raw popularity. Some have English menus, some don't have 2-hour lines, special dishes like black miso or green curry, certain other things that make them attractions, etc.

                And as we all know here, quality/taste is subjective, and as such I feel that the majority of the ones he picked are tops there also.

                1. re: kamiosaki
                  Scharn Feb 28, 2010 02:46 PM

                  Let's just post three: Itou, Kururi and Hatsune. I would argue these are among the best in their respective categories right now and should have been in.

                  1. re: Scharn
                    FourSeasons Feb 28, 2010 06:19 PM

                    Hi Scharn:

                    Thanks for recommending the top 3. Can you kindly post the Kanji characters and the location where they are located? How are these 3 compared to Menya Kissou which has been raved on this Board?

                    1. re: FourSeasons
                      Scharn Feb 28, 2010 07:42 PM


                      1. re: FourSeasons
                        Scharn Feb 28, 2010 07:45 PM

                        はつね @ 杉並西荻南3-11-8
                        中華そば屋 伊藤 @ 北豊島4-5-3 (pictured)
                        麺処くるり @ 新宿市谷田町3-1

                        1. re: Scharn
                          lost squirrel Feb 28, 2010 07:59 PM

                          I second (or third) Kururi - I really love it - along with Nidaimae Tsujita.

                          1. re: lost squirrel
                            Scharn Mar 3, 2010 07:28 AM

                            Btw: Today I made the terrible mistake to order "Ramen" at Tsujita. I would not recommend it to anyone. Their "Nidaime Ramen" (is it called like that?) is good and their Tsukemen is excellent, but their Y750 Ramen...nah.

                            1. re: Scharn
                              lost squirrel Mar 3, 2010 06:09 PM

                              Sorry you had the bad stuff - I never tried the regular. Also, the chashu gohan is quite good. It's tough to put down a small pork bowl and the noodles but I always manage.
                              Do you work close to Nidaimae? Uncle Yabai and I work down the road and some others are just a bit farther towards the palace.

                              1. re: Scharn
                                jem589 Apr 8, 2010 11:03 PM

                                Not that this comes as a surprise, but I really liked Tsujita (today). The (tsukemen) soup was awesome, with all the bits mixed in, and great pork. Have to say, the ramen looked even better though. Have to go back next week.

                                1. re: jem589
                                  Scharn Apr 9, 2010 02:13 AM

                                  don't do it! or if, then go for the most expensive all-in ramen. the standard one is a turd.

                                  1. re: Scharn
                                    lost squirrel Apr 11, 2010 10:02 PM

                                    The expensive one is best for sure, I really like it.

                                    1. re: lost squirrel
                                      Scharn Apr 12, 2010 04:16 AM

                                      if you like this, you should definitely try out:

                                      らぁめん 葉月

                                      1. re: Scharn
                                        lost squirrel Apr 15, 2010 01:55 AM

                                        I'll add them to my ever-growing list ! Thanks

                            2. re: Scharn
                              exilekiss Mar 2, 2010 09:20 AM

                              Hi Scharn,

                              Thanks for the recommendations! :) What are these 3 favorites of yours specializing in? Can't wait to try them. Thanks. :)

                              1. re: exilekiss
                                Scharn Mar 2, 2010 02:16 PM

                                Itou is doing very classic soy sauce ramen, Hatsune uses a lot of veggies and Kururi is all about Miso.

                                Itou is very hard to reach (one of the last Namboku-sen stops in the north, then walk over a kilometer) but Kururi is very central: About halfway between Iidabashi and Ichigaya over the river is bridge. On the other side of the street on the West side of this bridge is Kururi. I would say that you can easily reach it within 10 minutes from Shinjuku. I would go there.

                                1. re: Scharn
                                  exilekiss Mar 3, 2010 07:18 AM

                                  Hi Scharn,

                                  Nice! :) Thanks for the info. Do you have a recommendation for great Shio Ramen in Tokyo? Thanks.

                                  1. re: exilekiss
                                    Scharn Mar 3, 2010 07:25 AM

                                    RAMEN CIQUE and newly opened らあめん元 (らあめんはじめ) are supposed to be good, however I haven't been there yet. I like ramen a lot, but as I can fit only so many meals in a day I must alternate through all the wonderful Japanese foods. Worse yet often lunch is a Calorie Mate... Maybe I should start to abuse the interns to get me better lunch? ;-)

                                    1. re: Scharn
                                      exilekiss Mar 4, 2010 07:27 AM

                                      Hi Scharn,

                                      Thanks! In Suginami? Not too far. I can't wait to try it. :)

                                    2. re: exilekiss
                                      Notorious P.I.G. Apr 11, 2010 12:59 AM

                                      I think my personal fave is Kaijin in Shinjuku. Great stuff. Doing a quick search on it will tell you all you need to know plus give you directions.

                          2. re: kamiosaki
                            Silverjay Feb 28, 2010 07:18 PM

                            The story is a nice primer for the Tokyo ramen scene and definitely benefited from some on-the-ground intel. Nice job. Not the first time the Times has done that - http://travel.nytimes.com/2007/05/20/travel/tmagazine/07well-tokyo-t.html?pagewanted=1 .

                            The ratings on RamenDB are fleeting anyway. Bassanova was in the top ten for a long time a couple of years ago and I think some of the shops have benefited from simply getting acclaimed on the site when it was launched a few years ago. ...On a related note, I've noticed, sadly, that one of the great and earliest ramen databases is no longer around. It was called Ramen Database (RDB) and existed before the fancy Supleks version. The URL was http://www5a.biglobe.ne.jp/~tacky/rdb... . I don't know if the guy forgot to pay his bill, passed away, or simply changed his eating habits. Anybody have any details on what happened to that site? He had been reviewing shops since the late 90's and made and reported back on repeat visits to places several years apart.

                            1. re: Silverjay
                              Tom from Raleigh Apr 15, 2010 04:15 AM

                              While I am not a qualified ramen aficianado with regard to experience, I ate the "burnt ramen" at Gogyo. What an awesome meal overall! The ramen was just great. The chicken wings were so good! They were sweet and hot with some Sichuan peppercorns to add to the overall effect.

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