Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Touka, Arakicho (鯛塩そば 灯火)

"Daaaaaddy, ramen again?" said no kid ever. Especially not Catfish.

All the times I've been in Arakicho, I never knew that the Tokyo Fire Museum and Toy Museum are both there. I have undoubtedly stood in front of the fire museum (I first met Common right across the street). Now I have been there. And I will say unto you "Free admission and an unlocked fire helicopter on the roof overlooking traffic are a totally sweet combination." As is a day in the city with your little boy. I'll remember going here, and the fire museum, and Shinjuku Gyoen, forever. I wonder if he will.

No blogger ever said no to ramen that's rated so high on the ramendbs either - a 95, placing it at #13 on the salt ramen subscale. This is the second shop, the first is only a block away and you'll pass it coming up from the Arakicho triangle (or not if you walk down from Akebonobashi). As you've seen from the name, they specialize in snapper - in the soup, as a side, to slap unruly customers.

Of which I suspect there are exactly none. This is an elegant, clean, subdued place for a ramen shop. I felt pretty bad about inflicting an under-3 toddler on them. But I did it anyway, and they were totally gracious. I felt bad for Catfish too, because we had to sit at the counter, and it's a high counter, and he had to perch on a high stool. He was a champ about it, as he can be, and I was proud of him for being so well behaved and enjoying his noodles so much, as he does. Plus the high stool meant he couldn't get bored and jump off to explore, bonus.

Kid's ramen! Bonus II! I think it's really a 'tasting size' ramen, because they'll also serve you a snapper chazuke bowl (ordered but not pictured).

This is pretty much the light, clean ramen of your dreams. I wouldn't want to compare it to the competitor that I had recently. Comparing implies similarity, and they're different enough that I don't think it's productive. You should go to both!
Elegant, right? And delicious. You definitely need to be looking out for the flavor, because it's not going to beat you about the ears like fattier, saltier, porkier styles do. Elegantly delicious. I like places that make this effort to arrange even the noodles.

Extra points for the fuu flower, and a nice egg, but the cha shu was disappointing and the menma was enormous. Maybe a zero overall just for the presence of such a huge menma.

But 110% for the presence of such a nice little Catfish. 

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