"Onigiri," Scott Beaty.
One hundred percent original content, squeezed and bottled in Toronto.
In a way, I almost regret having eaten at Tsukumo Ramen, because I know I’ll be filled with a powerful craving for this porky thing of perfection in a couple weeks (probably much sooner), and I’ll be plum out of luck in good ol’ ramen-challenged Toronto. Sure there’s a few places dishing out weak-ass bowls of noodles to people who don’t know better, but for those who have supped at the alter of Ramen, there’s no going back. Am I being a wee bit dramatic? No. If anything, I’m showing what I beleive to be great restraint.
In need of a tonkotsu fix (ramen originally from Kyushu, with a rich, milky pork bone broth and thinish noodles) we headed out to the ever-hip district of Ebisu, Tokyo (near Shibuya) in search of Tsukumo Ramen, which I’d been assured was top-notch. T’was, and I really couldn’t have asked for more. Nice vibe, good music, energetic service and yes, great ramen.
The specialty here is actually cheese ramen (you’ll hear a constant whizzing as they toss a hunk down the grater to land atop a bowl of steaming noodles) but I opted for shoyu tonkotsu — your usual suspects plus a dash of shoyu drizzled on the surface of the finished dish — and my wife went for straight ahead tonkotsu. The broth? Effing great. I could drink a cup of this stuff for breakfast, although many if not all doctors would advise against it — this is rich, fatty stuff. Some might find it a tad salty, but not I. The noodles? Perfect. With a handful of free toppings thrown in (egg, nori, bean sprouts, sesame and more) I was beyond full when we eventually made our way to the door, where about 10 people with drool running down their chins were waiting for tables or a spot at the counter.
Places like these, where you can have a meal prepared by people who are truly obsessed with the food they serve, and who do one thing and do it very, very well, are what I miss most about living in Tokyo. That and izakayas, although that, friend-o, is a story for another day.
(Shoyu tonkotsu, pictured above.)