MUGI TO OLIVE'S CLAM NOODLES
Even though this humble little joint (which only seats about 15 people) has been accorded “Bib Gourmand” status by Michelin Tokyo, we had no trouble walking in, without a reservation.
As you enter, to your immediate right, is a ticket machine where you must insert your yen (no credit cards), and note your yen, for the food and beverage items you desire. (Luckily, our guide was able to help us maneuver through the process but, for most foreigners, I would imagine this mechanized ordering can be a little off-putting and intimidating.)
Since we were short on time, we went for just two of the signature dishes. Our first was the “clam noodles,” which came with a generous supply of soba buried under a clam broth (mixed with soy sauce), topped with Hamaguri clams, some chicken slices, nagaimo potatoes, a piece of nori (seaweed), green onions, and a tied naruto (fishcake) — for 1000 yen, or about $9.50.
If you’re into shellfish, and are looking for a subdued taste of ocean-brininess with each and every sip or bite, then this dish is for you.
While we found the soba noodles (made with domestic flour and served al dente) somewhat bland, and lacking any suggestion of buckwheat, the muted sweetness and saltiness of the soupy mixture somewhat compensated for that deficiency.
And even though the chicken wasn’t as tender as we would have preferred, because the clams tasted fresh (as did the remaining ingredients that made up this dish), this savory and satisfying offering rated a pretty respectable “B.”