Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Menya Musashi Kosho, Roppongi (麺屋武蔵 虎嘯)

The original concept of this blog was of course 'lunch in Roppongi'. I moved on pretty quickly from that due to the whole 'implosion of my employer and my subsequent relocation to Otemachi', I still have a soft spot for Roppongi lunches.

Actually I don't; I don't have a soft spot for anything about Roppongi. I needed to go to the bank, and after 2 hours of waiting, negotiation and processing, my sherpa Harry and I were pretty well ready for lunch. Bizarrely, I've never blogged the nearby Ippudo branch, and I steered clear of that today too, in favor of the Menya Musashi branch that opened sometime in the last year or two. I don't get to Roppongi much these days.

I was pleased that we could walk in and only wait for 5 minutes; I distinctly remember the Akiba branch of Menya Musashi having reliable lines.

Nice looking store, right? Somehow I thought I had been to more of these guys, each of which I think has a different theme, but in looking back the only one I've been to is Takatora in Baba. The team here is surprisingly mellow for one of these black-paint-and-metal, ikemen places. They're not that ike either, come to think of it. Just guys working hard without any clever synchronized shouting and whatnot. Relaxing, I thought.

Well hey boy, let's get into it. The standard 'ramen' pictured here is a very good bowl; a little bit unique (which is like a little bit pregnant).

The soup is medium-weight, without any over-the-top fat or bone or fish flavor; they also have a shrimp version. They also do a big line in tsukemen, which most people seemed to be having, but I still don't understand the point of those, and I steered us in the normal direction.

The noodles are neat; more like Inaniwa udon than anything else in their wide flattitude. They're also pretty soft and slippery, with a high 'fear quotient', ie feeling that they're going to jump off the chopsticks and onto your lap at any time. I escaped with only minor damage.

Pork may be a highlight at Menya Musashis; it is at Takatora, and the style here was (different and) interesting too - it tasted a lot like canned ham, which I don't mean to sound as bad as it does. I saw a staffer dealing with several huge pans of whole cuts, and they were all vacuum-packed. Are the roasted and then wrapped for transport, or is it possible they could be cooked sous vide to get this texture and flavor?

Based on this egg, they clearly know how to control them a little water temperature, so it seems possible. Boy do I like a nice jellied yolk like this. America has no idea what it's missing with these things.

That's about it. Do you mind if I stop? Roppongi not being a real ramen destination, this is definitely the place you should go if you need noodles.
So I went for a walk afterwards to reminisce, and whaddya know, I was wrong. Turns out there IS a place where smorking is OK.

But only one. 


  1. In all your eating around Tokyo and elsewhere have you found and good Showa-style ramen? What I mean by that is good shoyu ramen that is somewhat chuka soba style of old. Maybe it's something that is not readily available anymore since my cousin who is few years older than me also mentioned that he has not been able to find one like that anymore esp near his home in Hamura and Tachikawa area. We ate at few ramen places in July but found mostly similar styles ie fatty stock that sticks to your palate. The soups are too intense for drinking.

  2. Sure, my favorite is Bigakuya in Toyocho. The other one that comes to mind is the kinda famous '69 n Roll' in Machida. And Sakaeya Milk Hole in Kanda is kinda neat, in a very old-fashioned way. You'll see some others if you just scroll down after clicking the 'ramen' link on the right.
    All this advice is predicated on the shops still being in business. I haven't lived in Tokyo for years.