My first dip into the Mensho group of ramen shops is not the original Menya Shono but the second shop, Ni-chōme Tsukemen GACHI (二丁目つけめん GACHI), a short walk east from Shinjuku Station in one of Tokyo’s drinkiest neighborhoods. As always, not only are the caloric needs of The Tokyo Project fueled by chewy wheat noodles and rich soups, my base of operations is provided by Ramen Adventures creator Brian MacDuckston, who graciously offers his couch whenever I’m in Tokyo on a solo trip. With the ramen nerd’s ramen nerd looking over my itinerary before my walks through the city, I’ve never ended up at a shop I didn’t like.
My first day of walks planned for 2014 October turns into a rainout. I have buffer time built into my trip, so this just means a low key day of window shopping and trying to keep mostly dry. While I’m not up for a flight of nihonshu at 2:00 in the afternoon, at the time of the visit I was still living in Beijing, so I’m looking for something special to kick off my temporary escape from the ramen desert.
The Sio DX is a set of the standard tonkotsu tsukemen with one of the most decadent spreads of toppings to ever land on a bowl of noodles. Though I knew what I wanted before coming, Brian’s helpful rule of thumb for visiting an unfamiliar shop is the upper-left button will almost always get you something good.
Inside the shop is warm and casual. Exposed brick, stainless steel and wood surfaces create a specific look that, while slightly different in each place, ties the several Mensho shops together aesthetically.
The seating area is elevated, giving an interesting view into the preparation area.
Yes, that’s an entire deep-fried chicken breast on my tsukemen. No, I didn’t share it with anyone. This is definitely something good.
This post is part of The Tokyo Project, Volume 3. Click here to go to the introduction and table of contents.