5 minutes away from Mitaka Station, west of Tokyo, is a restaurant called 'Tori Soba Yamamoto,' which serves a truly outstanding bowl of chicken ramen for just 2 hours a day during lunchtime. If you're a ramen fan, this place should definitely be added to your list!
Mitaka is a station in the west of Tokyo on the Chuo line that is probably best known to foreigners for the Ghibli Museum, which is located there. 5 minutes from the station is a restaurant called 'Tori Soba Yamamoto,' which opened in October of 2018. The restaurant is run by 'Yakitori Yamamoto,' a yakitori restaurant that is rated in Tokyo's top 100 yakitori restaurants by another gourmet website, and is open for just 2 hours during lunchtime!
Since it is a classy yakitori restaurant in the evening, the interior of Yamamoto is nicer than your typical ramen joint and features sleek decorations and even a sake cellar.
The menu offers both 'Shoyu'(soy sauce) and 'Shio'(salt) ramen, but today we went with the chef's recommendation and chose the 'Tokusei Shoyu Ramen.'
The Beautiful 'Tokusei Shoyu Ramen'
'Tokusei Shoyu' ¥1,000
What first strikes you about the ramen is how beautifully it is presented. The carefully layered chashu and noodles surrounded by a deep, amber-colored soup are accented nicely by two green day-lily buds. Don't stare too long, though, or the noodles might turn mushy!
The wonderful amber-colored soup is filled with the richness of konbu and other dried seasonings, paired with the umami of a duck and chicken base. The flavor is deep and complex, and is accented further by a fine grating of yuzu, added just before serving. It's clearly the work of a professional who specializes in cooking poultry!
The noodles are straight, medium-thick, and slippery. They have a wonderful, sweet wheat flavor. They are a magnificent carrier for the soup, and the flavors spread throughout your mouth as you slurp them down.
This is the beautiful duck chashu.
And this is the soy sauce chicken chashu.
The quality of both of the chashus is outstanding, and nothing less than what you would expect from such a highly regarded yakitori restaurant. The meat is very tender, juicy, and filled with flavor. I suspect that a sous vide cooker was used, which would explain the amazing texture.
This is the chicken and shrimp wonton. The skin of the wonton is quite large, like a big flat noodle, and has a great chewiness to it. Like the noodles, it picks up all the lovely flavor of the soup and is delicious. The filling has chicken, shrimp, and hints of shiso as an accent.
The ajitama (egg) is gooey at the center of the yolk, but firm throughout. Apparently the shop is also quite particular about the eggs that they use, and the deep flavor of the yolk definitely proved that.
Also Worth Trying: the 'Tori Soboro Gohan'
If you've finished the whole bowl of ramen and still have room, the 'Tori Soboro Gohan' is a side menu item that I would definitely recommend.
A bed of rice is topped with shredded nori, minced chicken meat, potato noodles, and immature egg yolks. It's a rich and satisfying way to finish the meal, and it's only 200 yen!
Only open for 2 hours per day, but definitely worth checking out!
Tori Soba Yamamoto is only open for 2 hours per day and is, therefore, a bit of a Tokyo secret. However, if you manage to pay a visit, you will be well rewarded for your efforts! Some of the tastiest chicken in the city awaits.