Saturday, June 20, 2009

Kashira, Shimokitazawa (頭,下北沢)

When I got to Tokyo, McNoonan was living in Shimokita. This seemed like a slightly odd place to live, but he swore by it despite the small apartment and long commute (Roppongi isn't convenient. Opening the Oedo line helped, but it's still not that convenient except for foreigners who live right around there.). Of course, he moved to Nishi Azabu after only a couple months, and I didn't think about it much after that. It's famous for having lots of kids running around (not in a family sense, but more like college kids), being cheap, fun and lively. Lots of music, cheap food.

Hey, it's all that and more! After spending a solid day there (from 1 until 9 or so, 2 meals and a lot of walking around), I can say conclusively that it's vast, interesting (especially if you like vintage clothes), cheap and fun. You should check it out - I was confused about direction most of the time, but I'm pretty sure I didn't see some parts.

When in Rome, eat Romen. Ramen. Sorry. I've been thinking about ramen for a couple weeks, and gyoza, but haven't had any because on weekdays I always feel like I shouldn't go too nuts on the pork fat. On the weekend...anyway, after a solid walk around, this Kashira place just called out. Here's what it was like.

Now that I've been to Tokyo's Best Ramen (or something), I feel like I have a point of comparison. The soup here was exemplary, in a very different way from some others - much lighter, with (I think) a chicken base and (I know) a significant fish element (see picture below). It does say Kyushu-style on the web site, but I thought that was heavier; too many ramens, too little time. So the soup was very good and the noodles were good (thin, straight, delivered very firm like I ordered 'em). Two types of chashu is a nice bonus - the slice was very soft, no chewy issues at all. The kakuni bits were great; I think of this as 'Taiwan style" after eating it lots of times at Golden Burning. It's a little odd in soup, but good. The egg was much less good than at Kissou, as were the menma, but these are excusable things. The gyoza were made fresh in front of us (sort of an accident, but I think they had run out and one guy happened to be making them), and were excellent.

Indeed, a significant fish element. These came out of a big burlap bag that had been boiling in a caludron of water.

And these eggs and pork and things were just sitting around on the counter, staying warm and looking tasty.

I would eat at this place again if I lived in the neighborhood. Since I don't (sad face), probably never again!

Dumpling porn.

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