Change comes in subtle increments in the ramen world, rarely in sudden leaps. That’s why it was exciting to discover Gonokami Suisan and its hip, young crew earlier this year in the backstreets north of Kanda Station. Last December when it opened, lines formed around the block to sample the trademark seafood ramen. Unlike Kyushu-style agodashi broths, which are light and clear, the soups at Gonokami Suisan are thick and comforting, like a French bisque.
The basic bowl is gindara ramen. The noodles, made in-house and bathed in rich broth, come topped with chunks of fried sablefish. Chashu pork and ajitama (soft-boiled egg) are optional extras.
Occasionally it also offers a thin, flat pappardelle-style noodle. That’s the one that goes best with the store’s classic uni-kake (sea urchin) ramen. This is the bowl that has generated the biggest buzz. It looks simple, but the uni gives it a powerful, addictive richness.
Recently, a miso ramen with salmon was added to the lineup, so it pays to keep an eye on the shop’s Facebook page. That’s how you get to know about limited-edition noodles, such as the eye-popping ebi (shrimp) tsukemen, featuring a mandala of sashimi-grade ama-ebi shrimps on top.
2-9-6 Kanda Tacho, Chiyoda, Tokyo; 03-6206-8814; www.facebook.com/gonokamiseisakusyo; open 11 a.m.-3 p.m., 5:30-10:30 p.m. (Sat. till 9 p.m.), closed Sun.; nearest stations Awajicho, Ogawamachi; no smoking; noodles from ¥780; no credit cards; no English menu; little English spoken.