Michi | つけ麺道
Style: Tonkotsu & Gyokai Tsukemen
Bowl to Crush: Ramen (特製つけ麺)
Michi debuted in 2009 and its star has steadily risen. The doors open at 11:30am, and often the first customers are already lining up for a seat by 10am.
Michi is a tsukemen specialty shop. The shop is intimate and tiny, with just eight seats arranged around the counter directly in front of the master's workspace. Buckle up for a show. The master, Nagahama-san, served his apprenticeship in his late teens and early twenties at Honda, the acclaimed shop in Higashi-Jujo. Something of a savant, Nagahama-san branched out to open his own shop when he was just 22 years old.
The only dish served on standard days of service is tsukemen; the ticket machine simply specifies your preferred serving size and whether you want extra toppings (tokusei). The serving size options are: namimori (200g of noodles), chūmori (300g), ōmori (400g) and tokumori (500g). The only wildcard on the menu is a creme brulée dessert (pretty great – go for it!).
Nagahama-san prepares every detail of every dish with obsessive, methodical care. On the day of our last visit, he first laid out some fresh-sliced negi in a side dish, followed by pickled ginger with togarashi — this is the yakumi, or spice, which Nagahama-san changes each day. Next, the master splays the tsukemen toppings in a separate side dish — egg, nori, chashu, a chicken meatball and some hosaki menma.
Michi's noodles come specially ordered from a noodle supplied named Kanejin. Nagahama-san boils them in a large batch for each wave of customers and then rinses and divvies them out by hand. They're visibly springy as the master drapes them into your bowl.
Finally, the soup. Nagahama-san warns that his soup comes piping hot, and indeed, it's usually still boiling as he places the bowl in front of you. Made with chicken, gyokai and tonkotsu, it's silkier, smoother and notably lighter than many of the top tonkotsu-gyokai soups, without sacrificing any of the depth of flavor and umami wow-factor. The noodles are firm, fresh and simply perfect. The toppings are excellent, without any weaknesses. The yakumi spice adds an interesting element to the tsukemen experience. The egg is particularly impressive — infused with vanilla essence, it delivers another delicate, surprising note to the meal.
Altogether: a gourmet, unforgettable tsukemen experience.
Important Note: On Monday and Tuesday, Michi suspends its usual tsukemen menu and becomes 'Ramen Michi No Shio,' serving only shio ramen. The shio ramen is solid, but it doesn't touch Nagahama-san's tsukemen.
Michi | つけ麺道
Opening Hours: 11:30am-until soup runs out (often 6pm-7pm)
Days Closed: None
5-28-17 Kameari Katsushika, Tokyo