Ôita Hôraiken (大分宝来軒), Takadanobaba
What: Ramen (Tonkotsu)
Recommendation: Karami-tonkotsu (tonkotsu with chili miso paste)
Verdict: More than satisfactory (3.7)
(JR Takadanobaba station, Waseda exit: Head down Waseda dôri towards Waseda, and you'll find it on your left hand side after 100-150 meters. Map)
None, really. Just felt hungry for ramen and was in the neighborhood. Had noticed this place, for its ambitious claim to serve "Japan's best tonkotsu ramen". So, somewhat skeptical, I entered.
Cozy, Japan-retro-ish place with big, fat handwriting splattered all over the walls to create a genki sort of souther, Kyushu atmosphere. One thing which sets this place apart, is the fact that they bring you warm hand towels (o-shibori) when you sit down. Could get used to that
Rich, full soup with thin, hoso-men noodles. Soup's very good; the mild, heavy tonkotsu broth balanced by spicy chili miso paste (if you order the kara-mi tonkotsu). Noodle texture is not quite top-notch but definitely ok. The hanjuku egg (which I ordered extra) was just the right, soft texture.
Not quite a foodgasm, but plenty satisfaction. Oh, and it makes Ippûdô down the road taste like dishwashing water by comparison. Best tonkotsu in Baba so far.
But "Japan's best tonkotsu ramen"...?