One of the many perks of working at a popular ramen shop in Tokyo is that my boss gets to be chummy with all the other famous ramen bosses and when one of them opens a new shop, I get to tag along. Today was opening day for Honko Chuuka Soba Gyorai (本枯中華そば 魚雷). The newest ramen creation from Mr. Bond of Hearts himself--Tsukada Kenji (塚田兼司).
Located near Korakuen and Kasuga station (exit 8), Gyorai, which means torpedo, uses only the highest grade katsuobushi in their soup. And as you'll soon see, Tsukada-san employs a new technique involving something I've never seen used in the ramen world.
But first we need to stop for some pictures. Here's Ivan and Tsukada-san posing in front of the flowers from Ivan Ramen. I still can't believe I was the one that took this picture. Talk about living the dream!
While waiting for the shop to open at 11am, we were approached by the owner of Ramen Dining Do Miso (seen talking with Ivan below), who ended up sitting with us at our table. So cool!
The setup inside was like a clean cafe that just happened to serve ramen.
And here is that new technique I mentioned earlier--using coffee siphons to extract the dashi into the soup. It's time-consuming, but an impressive technique indeed.
Included with the regular ramen is your choice of 3 toppings from the list of 8 that hangs from the ceiling.
I ended up choosing Uzura (quail egg), Menma, and the Chashu.
The ramen is shoyu-based and looks plain upon arrival...
but as the aroma gently creeps up to your senses, the high quality katsuo is instantly recognized.
It's a very refined soup with a fishiness that doesn't overpower. The noodles are a bit on the soft side but I shouldn't be complaining. Hurry, someone pinch me please!
The toppings were all great and worked well with the soup. The smoked-flavor of the chashu was eye-opening.
All in all, Tsukada-san knows what he's doing. I wish him all the luck with Gyorai, but I doubt he would need it.
Wow, this was definitely one of the coolest days since I've been here.