I had just polished off a fatty boom batty bowl of Ramen Jirô in Ogikubo, then drank some of the best beer I ever did taste following my buddy Junior Ken's stompin' blues show with the impressive Samm Bennett. But when Ken and company suggested a quick bowl before last train, who was I to say no?
One of Ken's favorite local shops in his hood of Asagaya is Ichô, and his picks thus far had been excellent, taking me to Kôkaiya and Seiya on past outings. We had tried to eat at Ichô on a few other occasions, but the master's got a bad back and the shop tends to be closed at weird hours. Today the apprentice was behind the counter, so we were in luck.
It was quite the party atmosphere inside, being a few days before the New Years holidays, and a couple of rounds of lime sour cocktails went around. So much for that last train...
I got the kuro goma tantanmen (Chinese-style noodles in black sesame soup), and it was just the thing for absorbing the booze in the belly. If you're giving me black sesame anything, it doesn't take a lot to get me on board. The big cuts of bok choy were great, especially since when you eat as much ramen as I do, you don't tend to get all your veggies. Do onions count?
The soup was sweet with sesame, but a bit overly salty. Ken suspects that the young trainee doesn't have quite the same balanced holistic vision of the bowl that the regular head cook does. My tastebuds were past differentiation at this point. Maybe not a gourmet slurp, but the good slurp is the one that gives you what you need, and my body was craving sodium.
These guys didn't seem too disappointed either. Here's to hoping the master's back heals!