Monday, August 17, 2009

Kanzan Ramen, Kanda (神山)

This was recommended some time ago, and it’s taken me all the way up to the hottest part of the year to stop in and try it. I'm pleased to say I had the same reaction as Lost Squirrel - it's all about the pork. Now, he lists BBQ as one of his favorite foods, which I forgot until now, and again I thought of nothing much while eating Kanzan's chashu except "this is the best barbeque ever". Then again, it's been a really long time since I had barbeque.

Kanzan is a bit on the modern side (black walls), but it's still a counter ramen place. One cool feature is that the stool, which are generally fixed to the floor in ramen places, tilt back here (unless I just broke mine). That makes it a lot easier to sit down and/or stretch, which is welcome when working through a big bowl of noodles.

Really, please get something with the roast pork. You'll see it after a while - there are big strips of it sitting along the wall, under heaters. They're 3-inch wide pieces of pork belly, evidently seared or something so that a bit of the fat comes out, but most of it is trapped inside a crust of caramelized skin (and I don't use the word 'caramelized' as lightly as people seem to these days) and everything melts together sweetly. I got tsukemen, so the pork wasn't swimming in soup, and I have to think this improved the experience for me by not dilluting the flavor even a little.

The soup was decent too. It's very strong (since it's tsukemen) and porky, to the point that it's a bit cloying and even sweetish towards the end; getting cold (again, tsukemen) doesn't help either, but I thought I was better served on August 17th by having cold noodles to put in the hot soup rather than sweating like a (roast) pig over the lunch hour. The soup also has little bits of pork floating in it, which taste just fine on their own.

The thick, eggy noodles are lackluster. They're mainly a vehicle for the pork, I guess. Oh, since I got the Kanzan Tsukemen, the noodles came with a raw egg broken on top - improved slimy texture, I suppose. The menma were pretty good.

And that, my friends, is that. The barbeque pork was outstanding and worth going back for, the soup pretty good, and the noodles disappointingly generic.

All about da boo.

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