Menchanko-tei - Tonkotsu Ramen Bowl
- basic flavor
I sat at the bar, not any closer, neither further away form the kitchen than any other table in the house, really. My very first taste sensation had to with the incredibly unpleasant smell of pork broth foam and particles - actually, I contemplated leaving the restaurant before even trying the food. That wave of smell went away, only to be replaced by the scent of chlorine, still I was determined to try the noodles.
My first sip of the broth was actually very good - unmistakably tonkotsu, milky in color and full-flavored, the broth was the most enjoyable part of my meal. I did notice, however, that as broth cooled down it started showing a bit of chicken stock flavors - perhaps it was a mixture of the two? ( noteworthy - this is how the broth described on the Menchanko-tei website menu:
"We use only fresh pork, chicken and vegetables simmered slowly to produce our complex flavorful broth.")
Noodles were very decent, perhaps a little thinner and firmer in texture than most ramen I have tasted ( this is what the website says about the noodles: "Our noodles are made fresh daily in our dedicated factory with our original recipe: a wheat base with Mongolian sea salt, the noodles are allowed to rest at low temperatures. When prepared all three thicknesses are always perfectly aldente. Every noodle goes down smooth.") I must say that the noodles were cooked as they were taken from a relatively large box placed in the middle of the kitchen - I am not certain if they were prepared just for Menchanko--tei or not, however.
Soup toppings were rather disappointing - pork did not have much flavor at all, besides it was unappetizingly discolored; eggs were overcooked to slightly grey hue around the yolk.
Still, the broth is what makes the ramen, and the broth at Menchanko-tei clearly worked.