★★★ 康竜 (Kouryu) - Tokyo
Kouryu is a Hakata style tonkotsu ramen place that sets itself apart from others by offereing a high degree of customizability for your ramen. When you purchase your order from the ramen ticket machine you are given a piece of paper with a preference chart that asks for you how firm you want the noodles, how rich and oily the soup, and how much hot spice or spring onions. You also have eight different toppings of which you can chose four for your ramen. On my last trip here I ordered this 自分仕立てラーメン (customizable ramen).
The Soup - is a rich tonkotsu soup that has just a little bit of the tonkotsu smell. The amount of oil that is on the soup is customizable, I selected to have a bit more oil on mine.
The Noodles - are very thin straight noodles. The firmness is customizable and I chose to have mine cooked really firm. Hakata style noodles are famous for being very firm though I would recommend slightly firm for people that are new to Hakata style ramen.
The Toppings - are all customizable, I selected and recommend you go for the 1. pickled cabbage 4. special menma bamboo 5. half cooked boiled egg, and 6. dried seaweed. These are the standard toppings for Hakata style ramen and are a great match with the soup. The 3. kikurage is more for Kumamoto style ramen, 7. kakuni simmered pork is good but you already get the cha-shu pork anyways. The 8. fried garlic isn't that good and there are fresh ground garlic already at the counter for free.
Overall - an above average Hakata style ramen experience. The ramen itself is quite delicious though the customizability part seems like a lot of extra work. I am a little suspicious of places that offer too much cusomizability, as if they can't decide on what is the best flavor that they are after and want the cusomers to help them decide. The customizability was at first a novelty and I liked it quite a bit, but as I've been exposed to more Hakata ramen places I now go to Ippuudou, Nanden-Kanden, and Goten exactly because they each offer unique flavors and experiences. The Kouryu in Shinjuku was also very crampled and uncomfortable.