★★★★ 青葉 (Aoba) - Tokyo
Aoba opened recently in 1996 near Nakano station. A relatively new player in the Tokyo ramen scene, it quickly rose in popularity and gained a lot of attention from the competition. Aoba's goal was simple, to create a delicious new ramen that appealed to the masses. Today their approach to making ramen has inspired many other rival stores and is considered as the main force behind the rich seafood style ramen. On this day I ordered the 特製中華そば (special Chinese soba).
The Soup - is a perfect blend of fish stock (dried sardines, mackerel, & bonito) and a rich white broth (tonkotsu, chicken and vegetables). There are a lot of ramen stores that try the double blend soup, I feel that Aoba achieves a balance between the two that is just right.
The Noodles - are medium thickness, curly noodles that are usually cooked to medium firmness and very springy. I have been here more than a few times and sometimes the noodles came out on the softer side.
The Toppings - are the standard cha-shu pork, menma bamboo shoots, nori dried seaweed, flavored boiled egg and a slice of naruto fish cake. Nothing fancy here, all of the toppings are simply delicious and match the ramen nicely. The boiled egg was especially delicious.
Overall - one of the best ramen in Tokyo, I highly recommend you give Aoba a try. Aoba has since opened many stores around Tokyo including Ikebukuro and Shinjuku, though neither is particulary close to the train station.