Sunday, April 19, 2009

Ramen Ichiran

Dan had become obsessed with finding the perfect bowl of ramen here in Tokyo. We thought about going to Ippudo in Ebisu, but now that there is one in NYC, we thought we should try something new. We have had a LOT of ramen in New York, but nothing prepared us for Ramen Ichiran!

Kevin, Dan, and I ventured out originally for a different ramen place, but it turned out to be closed. (Restaurants in Tokyo seem to close on random days.) Not to be thwarted, we decided to go to Ichiran. Ichiran is supposed to be Tokyo's #1 ramen, but the atmosphere is a little odd. You can't really sit with your friends; each customer has his own little 'booth.'

This is how their website describes the booth system:

With a 'curtain' and a 'dividing board', each east is divided into a semi-private room, where you can focus on the flavors of your ramen without having to worry about anything that's happening around you.
(A World First) This is especially popular with our female customers.

Isn't that so funny? Female customers can slurp and have disgusting ramen manners without anyone seeing them! Also, when you need more noodles, you push the button and someone comes to refill your bowl. Apparently, this anonymity is good for the female customers -- you can order without raising your voice and you can eat as many noodles as you want without people judging!

You also get to customize your noodles here -- everything from the chewiness of the noodles, to the amount of fat in the soup, to the amount of spice. If you want additional toppings, you can get an egg, or mushrooms, or extra pork.

Anyway, we went and it was fantastic. Luckily, the three of us all had booths next to one another, so we were able to chat. We screwed up the special systems once or twice, especially during the noodle reordering, but all's good. Definitely a must-try for ramen!

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  1. IS this a chain or only one place? I am so jealous!

  2. it's a chain! but i don't think they have locations outside of Asia. :(

  3. Best ramen EVER. Need to be franchised worldwide.