Friday, May 14, 2010

Ginakakuji Masutani Ramen, Nihonbashi (銀閣寺ますたに)

That's a hell of a fancy name for a ramen shop, isn't it? Then again, I've been writing 'hell' a lot recently, as well as eating too much ramen, so who the hell am I to complain about their ramename?  This seems to be an older-school sort of fatty ramen (and there really is a shop with the same name right near Ginkakuji). I liked it pretty well, but it's been a long time since I ate something with fat chunks actively floating in it. Or maybe they were passive, but they were still there and fatty.

Masutani often has (had) a line outside; I've tried to go in the past and been turned away by no fewer than 30 people waiting. Ironically, this is the same number of people that were waiting at Rokurinsha when You and I walked all the way down there (practically Yurakucho). I was sorta ready to wait, but he sorta wasn't, and he thought Masutani was close, which I knew it wasn't, but I need exercise, and he doesn't, and we took off, and there was no wait when we got there. It's just a ramen shop, but I took a picture of the kitchen anyway. The head chef was really funny, he kept singing the orders and commands in an odd little voice that was quite at odds with his bulging pectoral muscles.

Here's the bowl. The deal is that you can pick your degree of noodle firmness, soup fattiness, and flavor spiciness, and they'll whip up a steaming load for you right away. Pictured is normal ramen, firm noodles, lightly fatty, very spicy. Believe it or not, it was actually very spicy, and you know how rare that is in Japan. All of that cloudy, light-colored stuff on top isn't miso like you might think - that's the 'light' level of fat. I'm not sure what 'heavy' would be, but there's also a 'none' option that might be prudent. As it was, I tried to avoid eating all of it. The soup was pretty good; because of the spice it had some interesting layers. You maintains that the lines are gone because the quality of the soup has gone downhill; I dunno. It wasn't worth lining up for.

Are these Kyoto-style noodles (sorry, Ginkakuji, or the Temple of the Silver Pavillion, is one of Kyoto's most famous temples. Mom and Dad, you've been there.)? They're pretty similar to thin Hakata guys, as is the option to pick your firmness. Decent noodles, but kinda lost in the soup as far as I was concerned. Something fatty and spicy demands a thicker, chewier noodle.  Actually, I had the weirdest sense throughout that I was eating instant ramen; the combination of soup and noodle really did that for me.  Let me also point out that the pork was pretty good, and the half-boiled egg was eggcellent - yolk gel, a little too soft if anything.

I woulda took more pitchers for ya, but I was with my colleague You after all, and he's very professional. That's why we go out for ramen once a week and bullshit each other in a garbage-laden, grammar-free mix of Japanese and English. I think he knows something's up with me taking pictures, but he's cool about it.

As if cool was my concern.
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