True, I've seen its red flag saying らーめん (Ramen) on the side of the street probably a good several hundred times, but never seeing the actual joint close-by (or at least at the end of the alley where the flag is) made me not pay attention to the place at all.
Just as a search result not on your Google top page is unfortunately almost irrelevant, a restaurant which is not close by its billboard or sign has a chance of remaining largely unnoticed. Or, like "Nasu Oyaji" which is slightly away from the main street, opt for a fun sign such as "we are 64 steps from this sign" and you know that some people will end up in front of your shop just for the sake of trying the little challenge.
Alright, enough digressing.
Ramen Yajirushi (Yajirushi means "arrow", and I must have completely missed it...) occupies one of the ground floor rooms (furthest from the street) of a really average looking apartment, and can probably sit 10 people at the counter. The owner/cook is mute as a fish and I had to wonder whether the meal ticket distributor at the entrance was another way for him to avoid communicating with customers.
There were few press clippings outside the restaurant recommending the Shio Ramen (salty Ramen) so that's what ordered with a topping of Moyashi (soy sprout) and an Aji-Tama (simmered egg).
The said bowl of noodles got to me in less than five minutes and I have to say that the initial tasting of the transparent soup was a pleasant surprise. The broth is a simmered blend of Genkotsu (the succulent pork knee joint bone which resembles the human knuckle, thus dubbed the equivalent in Japanese), Torigara (Chicken carcass), vegetables, Niboshi (dry baby sardines) as well as Sababushi (dry mackerel shavings), and manages to keep a delicious balance between the meat and fish aromas (the later is stronger). I would not recommend that you down it though, as there was a relatively consequent amount of fat floating on top the soup, capable of boosting your calorie intake for the day before you know it.
The homemade white-colored square noodles are about 1.5mm thick and have a nice firmness. A sign on the counter says that the dough contains some alkaline water, which explains the consistency, as such water is usually added to give the noodles a harder bite. I loved it, as they somehow had a hint of jelly texture to them.
The toppings were all good with a special mention for the very tender and melting in your mouth Chashu (Chinese style pork bbq), once again homemade, stewed six hours before being marinated in a special Shoyu-based glaze for an hour.
I also loved the perfectly simmered egg, which unfortunately I would have preferred more half-boiled. Mine was tasting perfectly but was 90% boiled when I love them runnier.
Don't go to this place thinking you'll be able to practice your Japanese as you will most probably end up not exchanging a single word with the cook (not that he seemed like a bad guy). However, I can recommend the Shio-Ramen. The place seems famous for its Tsukemen (dipping noodles in a separate bowl of hot broth) as well, so please give it a try if you feel like it.
Ramen Yajirushi is closed on Tuesdays and open the rest of the week from 11:30am to 21:00pm
Setagaya-Ku, Kitazawa 2-28-7
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