Koushi | 嚆矢
Style: Ramen & Sake
Bowl to Crush: Houjun Shinasoba | 芳醇しなそば
Koushi is an unusual shop. First off, there are no walk-ins. At time of writing, Koushi is reservation only and limited to eight customers per day. Furthermore, you cannot call to make a reservation, it can only done via Facebook or email (see here: www.facebook.com/menshuron.KOUSHI). The proprietor, Shibata-san, does not speak English, so you’ll need a Japanese speaker in your party.
Shibata-san is quite a character. He often wears colorful outfits while he works – orange jumpsuits or yellow overalls. But don't let the funky getup fool you – he’s a genuine master of both ramen and Japanese sake. Koushi is essentially a ramen shop fused with an izakaya specializing in sake. Rather than eating and running as you would in most ramen shops, the expectation here is that you follow the leisurely Japanese approach to wining and dining – sample some sakes, enjoy a few appetizers, and then finish with a beautiful bowl of ramen.
Before opening Koushi, Shibata-san worked at Harubarutei, a veteran ramen shop that also happens to have the feel of a bar and serves sake. Koushi serves shina soba and wontonmen, both baring the influence of their predecessors at Harubarutei. However, the recommended bowl at Koushi is undoubtedly "Houjun Shinasoba,” a shoyu ramen made with "sake kasu" (the lees, or leftover from sake production). The bowl also comes with a tab of butter that melts into the soup. Shibata-san says the alcohol content in this bowl is about 1% – original, delicious, unforgettable.
Although it’s a pain to arrange, the eating and drinking experience at Koushi is wonderful – the food, the sake and the ambiance are all excellent. Shibata-san can be a little intimidating, but he does everything proper. Be sure to obey Japanese dining etiquette in this joint.
Opening Hours: Reservation Only
Days Closed: Not Fixed
2-4-6 Komaba, Meguro-ku, Tokyo