★★★ 麺屋武蔵 二天 (Musashi Niten) - Tokyo
Musashi Niten is a spinoff of the popular original Musashi store based in Shinjuku, Niten also has the signature Japanese style seafood based soup and delicious thick noodles like Musashi, but tries something new with its toppings. Today I tried Niten's signature dish, 玉豚天らー麺 (tama-buta-ten ramen).
The Soup - is a rich Japanese style broth probably made from mainly dried mackerel, this soup is also slightly richer than Musashi which makes me think that quite a bit of chicken and pork broth is blended together with the seafood broth. The soup is then flavored with a soysauce based sauce with a thin layer of oil on the ramen.
The Noodles - are thick curly noodles that are cooked medium firm and really chewy and delicious. The original Musashi had very memorable noodles and Niten is the same as well. The thicker soup and oil wraps around the noodles really well, every bite of noodles are filled with all the flavors of the soup.
The Toppings - are simple, menma bamboo, nego green onions, and the buta-ten which is like a thin tonkatsu (deep fried pork-chop). The buta-ten is quite unique since it is wrapped in a thin layer of seaweed batter, giving the tonkatsu more of a Japanese flair. The rest of the toppings are simple but match the ramen perfectly.
Overall - one of the best ramen I have had. I liked the original store Musashi, but Niten is worth it even if there's a long wait. The buta-ten ramen is essentially a Japanese style 排骨麺 (pai-ko men), quite a few other ramen stores have pai-ko noodles, Niten is the first that I've tried that actually got it right. The soup is wonderful by itself, the noodles match it perfectly, and the toppings just like the rest of the ramen has a Japanese flair that just wraps everything together nicely. Niten is located to the south of Ikebukuro station, requiring a short walk but worth the effort.