Hototogisu: Hatagaya
Hatagaya / Ramen
Shibuya-ku, Hatagaya 2-47-12.
Open 11:30am-3, 6:30-10pm. Closed Thu; Fri; Sun eve.
no smoking: No smoking

Hototogisu is a little hard to find. It's located in a suburb a few stations west of Shinjuku, down a local shopping street, and in a nondescript alleyway. They usually have a line, which is the only indication of anything existing there. But therein lies the beauty of ramen. Hototogisu could make a killing with a bigger shop in a busier part of town, but they choose to stay, despite the countless awards and accolades.

Hototogisu blends a clear, meaty soup with a soup made from Japanese clams. The flavors are full of umami, and very refreshing. But what gives them their edge is the excellent flavoring of the toppings. The shoyu ramen (Y800) and the shio ramen (Y850) are both excellent and quite different. Though they use the same base soup, the shoyu is accented with homemade porcini mushroom flakes and oil, while the shio ramen is paired with truffle oil. Both of these bowls have a deep earthy taste that has most patrons drinking every last drop.

On Sundays they're open only at lunchtime.

by Brian MacDuckston
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