Another month, another yokochō: The new Jingumae Comichi is, like most of these freshly fashionable clusters of drinking and dining dens, carefully designed and curated as an alluring space to while away many an hour after work or on weekends. Despite its proximity to the teenybopper alleys near Harajuku Station, it’s aimed squarely at the grown-ups, with enough craft beer, sake and natural wine bars to keep you coming back to explore.
Among the standouts is La Colere (“Anger”), offering casual, bistro-style cuisine and wine from the Alsace region of France. It’s produced by chef Fumiya Kase, who won a Michelin star less than a year after opening his sleek, modern restaurant L’Orgueil (“Pride”) in Aoyama.
And then there is Noodle Stand Tokyo, whose concept, “Ethical&Ramen,” raises more questions than it answers, given the generous helpings of chāshū pork offered on its tsukemen (dipping noodles). Where Noodle Stand Tokyo does gain “ethical” points is in its shunning of all artificial seasonings, and its self-proclaimed Ultimate Vegan Ramen.
But the real star is the house-special mazemen (warm noodles without broth), served with plenty of soft-simmered beef, onsen tamago (soft hot-spring egg) and an optional topping of spicy green onions. “Ethical” or not, this is the kind of bowl that legends are made of. Add a Veg & Banana smoothie (also additive-free) and you’ll be halfway to heaven.
Jingumae Comichi 2F, Jingumae 1-23-26, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo 151-0001; 03-6804-1477; noodlestandtokyo.com; open 11:30 a.m.-2:45 p.m. (L.O.), 5-9:30 p.m. (L.O.), Sat, Sun, hols. 11:30 a.m.-9:30 p.m. (L.O.); closed Mon.; ramen from ¥880, vegan ramen from ¥1,200; takeout available; nearest station Harajuku; nonsmoking; cash only; Japanese menu; some English spoken