Further to a tip from my very good friend and great photographer Mitch Ikeda, I went to the very popular among artists Pekinese restaurant "Shinsetsuen". I am not a big fan of the place as I've always found their food average and rather expensive for what it is (a lot of people LOVE this place so my opinion might be the one of a minority), but I couldn't ignore a friend's recommendation!
Since Mitch told me to go for the "Ebi Tanmen" and no other dish (he seems to share my opinion that the rest of the menu is not worth it), I ordered it right away when I got seated. The Tanmen (Japanese style Chinese "Tang Mian", or noodles in soup) with Emi (shrimp) is rather expensive at ¥1,100 so at least you've been warned.
After less than ten minutes, a beautiful pallet of colors comprising some orange, pink, green, shades of brown and yellow arrived at my table: good first impression. Quickly excited, I immediately plunged the spoon in the very clear Tori-dashi (chicken stock) based broth: umm, quite plain to be honest. I have to say that with all the heavy Ramens I've had the past weeks, my taste buds have been getting accustomed to pretty dense stuff so I might not be able to enjoy a low-salt soup to its full extent. Still, it felt so Assari (plain) that I decided to add a spoon full of vinegar: much much better!
How about the topped ingredients? The quickly boiled vegetables were tasty and provided a nice array of textures to munch through, from the firm baby-corn and Ninjin (carrots), the soft and chewy mushrooms (Shiitake, Fukurotake (Chinese straw mushroom) to the crunchy Kuro-Kuwai (arrowhead). The shrimp were tender and boiled just perfectly.
What was the most surprising was probably the white 3mm noodles with almost no Koshi (firmness) and no taste, as if some Somen (very thin wheat noodles usually served cold and dipped in Tsuyu broth when slurped) had suddenly grown way too big and found their way in that soup. Considering the broth was already quite plain, I would have liked it better should the noodles were tastier...
Anyway, one thing for sure: you can down the whole soup as there is no worries on the calories with that Ramen...
Please note that they are open everyday until 5am! And some TV celebrities are spotted once in a while, so try your luck!
Shinsetsuen is open everyday from 11am to 5am
Setagaya-ku, Kitazawa 2-9-24
Click here for a MAP