Benten | 中華そば べんてん
Style: Shoyu w/ Tonkotsu & Gyokai
Bowl to Crush: Tsukemen + Karami | つけ麺 ＋ 辛味
Benten has been a pillar of the Tokyo ramen scene since its debut back in 1995. The shop serves both ramen and tsukemen in various varieties, and everything on the menu is excellent. The beautifully balanced tonkotsu and gyokai — with a dash of vinegar for the tsukemen variety — packs a potent punch, but none of the flavors overpower the others. It's sweet cloudy brown harmony in a bowl — spectacular flavor exploding with umami. The heat comes as a side dish (if ordered): a red chili-like powder that you add to the bowl as you eat. Excellent flavor, highly recommended. The tsukemen is probably the most popular menu item, but the ramen and shio versions are also outstanding. Tanaka-san makes the noodles handmade daily, and runs the shop with his son.
Benten is a classic, beloved Tokyo ramen shop, with a legion of hardcore regular customers. The shop is only open for lunch a few hours of the day, and there is always a line. When word got out in 2014 that Tanaka-san was planning to close the shop — shit got a little out of hand. Ramen geeks and Benten fans flocked to the shop to pay tribute and the lines became simply ridiculous. During the final few weeks, the wait for a bowl of Benten ran over four hours long. And then the shop closed.
Fast forward to 2016 and word gets out that Tanaka-san would be opening up Benten again, this time at a new location. Again, hype… and the ramen heads have been coming ever since.
Opening Hours: 11:30am-2:30pm
Days Closed: Sunday
3-25-2 Asahicho, Nerima-ku, Tokyo