Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Tetsu, Nishi Nippori

夜つけ麺, Evening Tsukemen ¥800
     The first time I visited Tetsu was after 3 days in bed with norovirus and I feel I can say with some authority that ramen is not the meal you want to have first up after 3 days on electrolyte drinks, jelly and water. Luckily for me though the first visit didn't involve any waiting around outside in the cold.... Unlike this visit.

    Tetsu is another of the seemingly endless list of popular tonkotsu gyokai ramen shops that populate Tokyo although this one seems to be more popular than most. (It is ranked in the Top 10 on the Ramen Database!) The line wasn't so bad - maybe a 15 minute wait, but it was much worse by the time we left which seems odd for a Sunday night in a quiet part of town. They also have a few other stores around Tokyo (Roppongi, Shinagawa, etc)

     The shop is so small that there isn't any room for the ticket machine inside so be sure to grab a ticket before you get in line. As you can see, only half of the machine is lit up. This is because Tetsu has a different menu for daytime and nighttime and their most popular tonkotsu gyokai tsukemen is only available during the day and in the evening they offer a chicken and fish flavoured soup.

     I have to say that I'm pretty happy that this place is close to home since it is amazing. The soup has a quite complex flavour without being overpowering or too strong, and it also manages to stay at nice consistency without becoming gritty. Sometimes you just don't need an egg... Luckily we also get instructions on how to eat our tsukemen... Just in case.

    Did you read closely? Shwaaaaa! Once you've finished your noodles and want to finish your soup off there's a problem. The soup is not hot enough anymore so you can ask for a piping hot stone to put in and heat your soup back up... Genius!

    You can then thin the soup out a little with the boiling water that is on the counter (Please don't confuse this one with the drinking water!) and enjoy a really refreshing soup with just a small hint of yuzu... Wow!

     Tetsu is well worth a visit - It's a ramen store that offers something a little different from the others, albeit a stone that heats your soup up, but it certainly doesn't feel like a gimmick. I'll be back because it's some of the best ramen I've had in Tokyo!

    But be aware of what you might have to contend with.....

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