I’m in Tokyo right now, and one of the things that I wanted to check out was the world’s first ramen joint awarded a Michelin star. You can look at lots of places on the internet that explain the seating system. I went by at 8 am on a Friday to get one of the reservation cards. There was no line to get cards, and from the looks of the box, I was one of the first to pick up a card that day, so things seemed a little calmer than was apparently the case about six months ago.
I picked a blue card, which meant I would be seated around 1 pm.
I arrived at 12:45, and there was a line of about 10 people, about half foreign tourists.
Since there are only nine seats in the place, if you show up with a party of four, don’t expected to be seated at the same time. It took about 15 minutes to get to the front of the line, at which point it was almost exactly 1 pm.
Once you get into the door, you see that this is a bit Disneyland in that there is still a line inside. There are four seats for people waiting, and an additional two or three customers standing. Immediately to the right of the door, you are confronted with the ticket vending machine. With my limited reading, I decided to pick one of the two big button choices, and also opted for extra noodles (this requires a second button push). I was seated around 1:20.
BTW the first link in this post has much better pictures of the buttons.
These are the reason for all the fuss.
They were discouraging the taking of pictures, except of the food, so this picture only gives you a bit of the feel of the place.
and here is my ramen.
Verdict? Well it was certainly my far and away the best shoyu based ramen that I have ever had. The noodles had great texture and the chasu pork was also not overly fatty or salty, and also undercooked by TO standards, which was a plus. The broth had depth without hitting you over the head with flavour, fat, or spicyness, in contrast to several of the places in Toronto (granted, many of the places in Toronto generally serve tonkotsu style broths). Was it worth making two separate trips to this corner of Tokyo? Maybe once for the experience, since I’ve had plenty of lousy ramen in Japan as well.
Or maybe you can opt for their other branch which is close by, and isn’t as well known, according to this article.
On the other hand, where else can you say you’ve eaten at a Michelin starred restaurant for less than twenty bucks?