For me, Ogikubo is like a ramen utopia. With so many old-school-Tokyo-style shoyu ramen shops within steps from each other, no matter where you go you can't go wrong. So referring back to the Tokyo Nostalgic Ramen book, the assistant and I decided to check out Futaba (二葉 天沼店). This shop has been around since 1983 and is considered one of Ogikubo's finest.
Their ramen (Chashu Wontonmen pictured below) is a very rustic-style shoyu ramen. If you know the difference between chuukasoba and shinasoba, I'd say that this was more on the shinasoba side. The shoyu flavor is not as deep and the niboshi flavor is borderline excessive. But all-in-all a great old-school ramen.
The noodles tasted familiar and I'm willing to bet that Mikawaya makes them. Can anybody confirm this?
The tsukemen at Futaba is a completely different animal than their ramen. The soup is much lighter and hints of yuzu-pepper and ichimi brighten the bowl.
The thick hirauchi noodles really grasp and deliver the flavor straight to your taste buds. They definitely must be Mikawaya.
If only I could eat another bowl. I always feel incomplete leaving Ogikubo after slurping at only one shop, especially since we walked by so many others that I've been wanting to try. Oh well. There's always next time.