Saturday, August 21, 2010

Tokyo Ramen Tower

Dreamy yolk of the aji-tsuke tamago.
     There are places in every city that look otherwise habitable but lack truly good food. The area around New York's Lincoln Center in the afternoon always struck me as a black hole--though maybe Bloomberg has fixed that quality of life issue. Or maybe it's only a quality of life issue if you need good food within arm's reach at all times. Here in Tokyo, I dread going to the city offices over by Hamamatsucho because there is just nothing interesting to eat. Sure, there's a gorgeous temple with a view of Tokyo Tower, but you can't eat scenery.

Tokyo Ramen Tower. I know. But that's the name.
     So I was thrilled when the Professor found a ramen joint, Tokyo Ramen Tower, just down a little side street. We were running errands there early on a truly hot day and ended up standing outside waiting for the shop to open at 11. Very hot. You skin feels like it's shrinking hot. And yet I ordered the hot ramen, which was actually lovely and weirdly refreshing, thanks to the fresh mitsuba on top. It has that fresh cut, bright herbiness that makes the cilantro on pho so perfect. A thick soup might have killed me after I roasted on the sidewalk, and thankfully the soup was not heavy at all, with a very smoky katsuo-bushi (dried bonito) flavor and some fried leeks in there. The pork was roasted, then char-grilled, which really brings out the flavor of the meat--and, let's be honest, the wonderful, melty fat.
Note the char-grilled stripe of fat trembling and threatening to fall away.
Look! They give you a little rice ball stuffed with pork while you wait! EVERY business should do this, including doctors' offices and the DMV.

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