Friday, April 9, 2010

Miso no Shou Ramen, Kanda (二代目つじた 味噌の章、淡路町)

Not that it comes as a surprise after seeing a bunch of people talking about how good this chain was, but this was very good. Definitely in my top 3 as far as Kanda ramen goes. Worth a return visit, especially because I got the tsukemen, and the ramen of the guy next to me looked way better. As Lindsey Buckingham would sing "Been down one time / Been down two times / Been down three times / ... [christ, I've had tsukemen at least 10 times in the last couple months, and I still don't like it, so I'm] / Never going back again." Especially not with Stevie, I imagine he was thinking.

So uh, yeah, the soup was really awesome here. I wish I hadn't gotten the big, cold, soft, cold, udon-like tsukemen (especially because they were cold, and a tiny bowl of soup like that is never gonna heat all those noodles). I guess it's a pork-based miso soup (I mean, I'm not sure if there's any chicken or fish in it. There's definitely a ton of pork, and the name of this branch is something like "The Poem of Miso".). It's thick and fatty but blended, or at least emulsified, so you'll think more that it's rich as opposed to some places that leave chunks of fat a-floatin' in yer bowl.

Interestingly, they don't really have toppings here (except boiled eggs or pickled bamboo shoots), because they seem to have decided that the proper formula and mix is for them to put a bunch of raw onions, roast pork and a few bamboo shoots into the bowl with the soup. It mixes up to a heavy, hot mess, and I mean that in the best possible way. You know I have a soft spot for pork (as in "Every time I go for noodles I tell myself that I won't get the extra pork, because it's so fattening, but every time I go I still do."), and I was disappointed not to be able to get it as a topping, especially when it was so good, but I must admit that everything is in proportion.

One other quirk that bears mentioning is the use of sudachi (a little, globular Japanese lime). The tsukemen come with a cold wedge on top which you're meant to squeeze on; this provides fleeting snatches of acidic, citric flavor that cut beautifully through the rich savour of the broth. (I've been feeling bad, reading other people's blogs, that I don't use enough daft 'foodie' frazes, so there's a few to keep you entertained.)  One of the few additional items on the menu is 'sudachi rice', but I forgot to ask what it is (the ticket machine is outside, where the waitress was veri insistent that I wait, so once I got inside I forgot all about the rice).

The atmosphere is pretty much the way I like my ramen shops. Well, at least one of the ways. I do like the "we never wash" theme, that's funny, and I also like the "we're so energized that we're always shouting!!!" theme, but here the theme is sorta like "Not so clean, not so loud, not so stylish, but very, very serious." At some places they have polished black and chrome everywhere, and others, every order is followed by a big "YO!!!" from the whole staff. Here, it's just utilitarian, and one person offers up a little "yo." in response to instructions, while going about his business. No problem, lets you concentrate on your noodling, which you'll certainly want to do. I drank all the soup.

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2 comments:

  1. Haha, I feel the same way about tsukemen too. I keep ordering at places and every time I wonder what I'm doing with it. Don't like it and don't understand it. But, I feel like I should understand it. Or should I? What am I missing?

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  2. I love this place. I'm not a fan of fatty meat and pork here is great. Glad I saw this on your blog and decided to try it. I haven't tried to tsukemen here yet, but I got it at the branch just north.

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