With over 10,000 ramen shops in Tokyo, alone, visiting even the top rated establishments among them, poses a considerable challenge to any foreign foodie. (A project we couldn’t even begin to endeavor given our limited time in Japan.)
At our tour guide’s urging, we ended up at a tightly packed, counter-only space called “Mugi to Olive,” over in Ginza.
Even though this humble little joint (which only seats about 15) has been accorded “Bib Gourmand” status by Michelin Tokyo, we had no problem finding seats for our small group, despite not having a reservation.
Once you enter, to your immediate right, is a ticket machine where you must insert your cash (yen only; no credit cards) and select the food and beverage items you prefer. (Luckily, our local guide was able to help us with our selections but, for most unaccompanied foreigners, I would imagine this could be an intimidating step.)
Since we were short on time, we went for just two of the signature dishes. The “clam noodles” (rated yesterday) scored a “B.” Our second choice was the “chicken noodles,” which came with soba buried under a chicken broth (mixed with soy sauce), topped with slices of chicken and pork, some nori (seaweed), nagaimo potatoes, green onions, and a tied naruto (fishcake) — for 1300 yen, or about $12.
Once again, while the noodles were bland, (we couldn’t discern any buckwheat), the muted sweetness and saltiness of the soupy mixture paired extremely well and partially compensated for that deficiency.
And even though the meat gave us some resistance and wasn’t as tender as we would have preferred, because this dish was fresh, and otherwise savory and delicious, this offering also rated a pretty admirable “B.”
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