Among the many surprises and pleasures of the new Toranomon Yokocho, perhaps the most unexpected was to find an offshoot of Ayu Ramen. Up to now, the only way to sample the one-of-a-kind noodles served by this hole-in-the-wall rāmenya has been to make the trek out to Futako-Tamagawa, on Tokyo’s southwestern periphery.
This new branch, called Ayu Ramen Plus, is marginally larger, with nine counter seats rather than seven. But the menu of side dishes is unchanged, right down to the blood-red aka-kabu (red turnip) pickles, aburi–chāshū (grilled chāshū pork) and tori-moyashi (bean sprouts with shreds of chicken meat). All make excellent appetizers.
The namesake ramen is also identical. The noodles are bathed in a delicate shio (salt) broth prepared from fish, chicken and vegetables. And, as always, they’re served with semidried ayu (sweetfish) from the clear rivers of Gifu Prefecture — either the whole fish or part of one — that’s been lightly grilled to order and laid across the top of your bowl.
It’s a down-home, no-frills classic worthy of a pilgrimage anywhere. To have it available in the city center now is a rare blessing.
Ramen from ¥770, side dishes from ¥220; nearest station Toranomon Hills; English menu; some English spoken