Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Yondaime Keisuke ramen

The next installment of Ramen enjoyment takes place at another of chef Keisuke's restaurants. This one is right by the subway station near our house, so we have been intrigued, yet intimidated, by it for some time. The nightly line of people out on the sidewalk, rain or shine, gave us some indication that this was going to be good. However, places with busy lines trying to turn over tables quickly, don't usually tolerate bumbling foreigners that don't know what they are doing. Well, we finally got up the courage to check it out. And actually, it was a good thing that there was a bit of a line when we walked up, so that we could see how things are supposed to go down. Here's the drill: First a gal comes out to ask how many you are. Then, she has you come in the doorway to the machine to place your order. She stands there watching you while you do it, so there is no time to look words up or hesitate. Then you go back to your previous place in line and wait some more. Eventually when enough people have left, you get called to take your place at the counter (which only seats about a dozen people) and, in theory, your food will already be waiting for you.

The ramen at this restaurant uses a fish broth, but what makes it special is that the chef adds spiney lobster, which gives it a very heavy, richness. You can definitely taste the lobster. Chunks of pork in the broth make this a very hearty meal. This shop is different also in the way that it serves the noodles. They serve them yakimorimen style, which means they fry them briefly on one side to give a nice crispiness and serve them separate (tsukemen-style) from the broth. Ryan got his with a side of pork slices (and a frosty beer).

Mine came with a cooked egg. Look at that thick broth! The hardest part is breaking the noodles up into chunks to dip in the broth. I thought for sure I was going to get some blisters.

Finally, when you have finished with all the noodles and have about a third of the broth left, you ask for a "ri-sue bo-ru", or rice ball, which has been deep fried and crackles when it hits the broth. You break this up and finish off what surely has been the most fattening meal you've had in a while. This is no light Japanese fare. We went home and contentedly rubbed our bellies for awhile.

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