Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Ishin Ramen, Meguro (麺や 維新)

Hmmm, how did we feel about this? An absurdly high score on ramendb and a Michelin Guide 'Bib Gourmand' mention probably had hopes a little high. I can't quite point to why I was dissatisfied with it. I guess if you wanted to sum it up in a phrase, it was all that but without the bag of chips.

Still, when I think about what $10 gets me for lunch in Chicago - a sandwich? A trip to the, ooh ooh, the salad bar? - I just want to cry. In Tokyo it gets you a bowl of carefully created soup with perfect accompaniments.

Which sounds like I was pretty happy with the whole thing. So I dunno.

This is fun - any time they're getting out the torch to char some pork before it goes on the soup, there's something going on.  The interior is a little too worn, and the three staffers somehow not fully into it. Which isn't fair to them, it's just that there are places where they're REALLY into it, and it makes a tiny difference.

Realistically you don't need any difference with this bowl though. I was pretty stunned by the soup, and had 8 or 10 spoonfuls before I remembered that I was supposed to eat the noodles and pork too. After a while I started thinking it was maybe too much, but this is the first ramen I've had in a looooong time, and maybe I should have started somewhere less challenging so I'd appreciate this. I'd hate to start thinking 'ramen is ramen', after all.

The noodles are cool - thin, a little flattened, pale, very chewy, wonderful. The pork is individual as well, tasting a lot like ham and with the fat nicely rendered and edible. Egg is just that side of perfectly done. Menma are buried so you don't have to confront them for a while.

It was great and all. Mr. Ishin has a nice vision for the bowl he wants to serve and he and the boys execute well on it. Just not sure why I walked out feeling ever so slightly unfulfilled.

Which is not to say that I left a drop of anything in the bowl, you understand. 

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