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Mar 26, 2012 06:01 PM

Miyata Menji: A photographic essay...

Verdict: A small eatery opened by a Japanese comedian from Osaka, offering an unorthodox but very, very excellent bowl of almost-Italian tsukemen. The teriyaki beef tonkotsu ramen (with chunks of tomato) is equally unorthodox, and almost equally as tasty as well. The contrast between the tsukemen here and Tsujita's tsukemen across the street are night and day.

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  1. Eh.. this was not my thing. I much prefer Tsujita. My main complaint is the temperature of the noodles: I didn't like dipping cold noodles in hot dipping sauce. 1/3 way through the meal, the whole thing was just cold. I guess that's usually the experience with tsukemen but it didn't help that the noodles were completely cold rather than at least lukewarm to start. I guess I just like certain foods hot. The flavor of the sauce was not bad but the slightly curdly, slightly gelatinous consistency really threw me off and I must say I was slightly grossed out by it. Couple that with the lukewarm to cool to cold temperature of the meal... the experience was not appealing. I didn't bother with the bread as I'm not much of a bread-dipper; the soggy bread thing just doesn't do it for me.. it's a texture thing. My friend didn't seem to be enjoying her ramen all that much either. Afterwards, we agreed that we'll hit Tsujita next time ramen craving strikes. I'm sure it will appeal to some people and I wish them well but it's not for me.

    3 Replies
    1. re: soniabegonia

      it looks wacky and strange. The first time I tried the tsukemen at Tsujita my noodles were only luckwarm which quickly brought the sauce to a cool temperature. Do they normally serve the noodles hot?

      1. re: soniabegonia

        Noodles are often rinsed in cold water after being cooked in order to stop the cooking process so they maintain a firm consistency. If the noodles are allowed to stay hot, then they could become mushy and defeat part of the purpose of having them separate from the broth. Textures are definitely a personal preference thing, but I just thought I'd add that there's a practical reason for the temperature.

        1. re: matikin9

          I understand the practical reason for it. I think the noodles could have been served closer to body temperature for better balance. I just found the stark contrast of cold noodles in hot dipping sauce jarring. Rinsing the noodles at, say, 80-90 degree water as opposed to 40-50 water would still stop the cooking process and not cause the sauce to become completely cold less than half-way through the meal. The difference with Tsujita is that they use thicker, chewier noodles for the tsukemen so they are not *as* likely to get mushy by being kept slightly warmer. I do tend to be very particular about food temperature. I don't mind cold noodles, say, in a salad, or cold soba noodles, etc. but this was just about 20 degrees cooler than I would have liked. As I said, not my thing.

      2. My take on this is that the owner/creator of the menu is wacky, as in being purposefully non-conformist in their entire approach to ramen.

        I went into the place with this mindset, already not expecting a "koryu" (old school) experience. Maybe that is why I am more pleased with the food here than other 'Hounds.

        1. So why did it close ?

          And how different is the decor on the inside than annex ?

          1 Reply
          1. re: kevin

            My guess is that the Miyata Menji ramen was a bit "too wacky" for most people.

            The Tsujita annex now offers warmer lighting, and an "open kitchen" design, rather than the Miyata Menji "window in the wall" where the food magically appeared.