Kouno | 麺や河野
Style: Shio & Shoyu w/ Handmade Noodles
Bowl to Crush: R-20 Tequila or Ajitama Ramen | R-20 テキーラ or 味玉らーめん
Kouno's shio ramen stands out from the pack for obvious reasons. The master takes a mild shio soup and spikes it with a full shot of high-quality tequila. He then tops it off with a slice of chili-dusted chashu, a heaping pile of cilantro, and a lime wedge. Wow.
First off, the tequila goes shockingly well with the soup. The lime, pork and cilantro combine to create something deep and special. The tequila soup has a real bite, but it manages to be both unique and soothing. Mexican food naturally pops to mind, but the dish remains unmistakably Japanese.
We recommend tasting the soup before adding lime. Slowly add the citrus to your liking as you eat. There's a sign somewhere in the shop warning customers who are driving to avoid this bowl because of its alcohol content.
Everything on the menu at Kouno is outstanding, so if you don't like tequila, you have plenty of options. The shoyu ramen and plain shio are both delicious. All of the soups are clean, refined and simple. The handmade noodles are equally special. The master keeps them in a plastic container wrapped in paper. With each order, he pulls out the box and carefully weighs the noodles on a scale. He then lays them out on the counter and gently squeezes and pounds them with his fists into a flat, slightly wavy shape ('teuchi-men'). Marvelous! They're thick and chewy with excellent consistency.
All of the toppings are killer. We recommend the aji tama (soft-boiled egg). Try the chashu rice bowl as a side too — the master lays strips of pork over rice and blasts it with a blowtorch for some smoky, fresh-roastedness. Yes!
Note that the serving size here isn't massive. If you're a big eater, choose the large portion of noodles (just say, 'omori'). You can also order shots of tequila. The master always keeps a few choice bottles in stock. The shop has just six seats.
Opening Hours: Wed-Sun: 11:30am-2pm, 5pm-8:30pm; Mon: 11:30am-2pm
Days Closed: Tuesday
3-13-10 Nakamura, Nerima-ku, Tokyo