Wednesday, July 05, 2006

★★ 渡なべ (Watanabe) - Tokyo

Watanabe is the first of many great ramen stores produced by Watanabe Juan, who is responsible for other famous ramen such as Miharu in Ebisu, Puka-puka in Nakamejiro, and Zouroku in Shinagawa, just to name a few. This being the only store that bares his name I naturally had high hopes for it. Watanabe is located near Takadanobaba station. On this day I ordered the standard らーめん (ramen).

The Soup - is a strong dried fish based soup that is blended with a rich tonkotsu broth. The fish based part of the soup itself is a complex blend of dried bonito, mackerel and butterfish, making the seafood aroma of the soup overwhelming. Mixed with the thick tonkotsu broth this soup felt more like soup concentrate that needs to be watered down a bit.

The Noodles - are medium thick noodles that are cooked quite firm. These noodles can hold their own against the soup's strong presence.

The Toppings - are cha-shu pork, menma bamboo shoots and sliced spring onions. The cha-shu pork is lightly flavored, but tastes just right in the thick flavored soup. The bamboo shoots were thick and a bit on the softer side. The spring onions were a prefect match with the soup.

Overall - I was a little dissapointed, probably because I was expecting so much from Watanabe. Everything was wonderful except the soup that came across a little too thick and strong for my preference. Watanabe was also located quite far from the station, requiring a 10-15 minute walk from Takadanobaba. Out of all of his ramen stores I liked Miharu the most so far, which I feel has the right balance of seafood vs the rich tonkotsu.


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