銀座篝 Ginza Kagari

After not having ramen for two months, I had my second bowl in as many days on Monday. I had heard about a shop in Ginza called Ginza Kagari. I noticed that there was a branch shop in Kawasaki’s Lazona shopping mall, so I decided to check it out.

According to Ramen Database, there were “many” seats, so I suspected this shop was in a food court. I was right. It’s next to two other well-known shops, Ebi Soba Ichiban and Menya Shouno. The whole place was noisy and crowded – not the kind of atmosphere to enjoy a bowl of ramen in!

07 Shop

I ordered a regular sized tori niboshi soba. It was topped with one slice each of pork and beef, menma, nori, daikon sprouts, green onions, and something I’d never seen in ramen,  baby corn. The toppings were unique and delicious. There were the highlight of this ramen.

01 Ramen02 Ramen close

This ramen had a chicken and fish broth with a shoyu base. Chicken dominated the flavour of the soup, with the fish barely being evident until I had finished and noticed a slight fishy aftertaste. It also had quite a light texture and was a little bland for my liking. It wasn’t bad, it just didn’t have any impact on me.

03 Soup

The portion of noodles was very generous. They were thin, square, and just a bit firm. You can also order omori (extra noodles). I imagine that would be a huge portion.

06 Noodles

As I mentioned above, the toppings were the best thing about this ramen. The baby corn was unique, and the daikon sprouts gave it a slight bitterness, which was interesting. But both the pork and the beef were excellent. The pork just melted in my mouth, and the beef was nice and tender. Combined with the chicken and fish broth, the animal kingdom was represented well in this bowl of ramen.

04 Chashu05 Beef

I had heard and read about Ginza Kagari, so my expectations were high. Unfortunately, this bowl didn’t live up to those expectations. It wasn’t bad, but the soup was a bit plain so it’s not worth going out of your way for. The main shop in Ginza might be better.

After finishing, we noticed a sign saying this shop would close permanently on August 28th. I guess there was too much competition with their neighbours.

Score: 7/10

Location: Lazona Kawasaki in the “Dining Selection” food court

Address: 川崎市幸区堀川町72-1 ラゾーナ川崎プラザ1Fダイニングセレクション内 (Kawasaki, Saiwai-ku, Horikawa-cho 72-1 Lazona Kawasaki Plaza 1F Dining Selection)

Seating: Plenty of seating available

Price: ¥850 – nami/regular; ¥950 – omori/large

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中村屋 Nakamura-ya

It’s been a hot summer here in Yokohama, and I hadn’t had a bowl of ramen in two months until today.

When I moved back to Japan six years ago, after two years in Canada, I settled in Kanagawa prefecture. One of the first ramen shops I visited was Nakamura-ya in Ebina. I had seen it on a list of the top ramen shops in Kanagawa for the year 2010. I wasn’t very impressed at the time, so I didn’t go back. Until today.

09 Entrance

I arrived at 11:30am on a Sunday, and the shop wasn’t busy at all. It’s a very nice, clean shop. It’s small, but it feels bigger due to the high ceilings. Two of the chefs wore t-shirts that read “No Ramen, No Life’. I must say that I completely agree.

08 Shop inside

Nakamura-ya is known for it’s shio ramen, but I decided to try the shoyu ramen. It was topped with one piece of chashu, steamed spinach, half a soft-boiled egg, bamboo shoots, and finely chopped green onions. The presentation was perfect.

02 Ramen

03 Ramen close

The soup had a soy sauce (shoyu) base with a slightly fishy broth. It was quite thin with a somewhat smoky flavour, most likely from the chashu. There wasn’t a huge amount of soup, which probably made it easier to find room for the toppings and noodles.

04 Soup

The noodles were very thin with average firmness, but the volume was quite large. It’s always nice to have a large portion of noodles. Luckily, I was able to get in 18km of walking afterwards to help burn off the carbs!

05 Noodles

One of the highlights of this ramen was the chashu (roasted pork). It came with just one thick piece, but it had such a nice smoky flavour, and it wasn’t chewy like I remembered it six years ago.

06 Chashu

Although I’m not a big fan of eggs in general, I do occasionally like a soft-boiled egg with shoyu ramen, especially when the white takes on the colour of the broth.

07 Egg

Nakamura-ya was much better than I remembered. Maybe they’ve changed a few things (like the chashu), or perhaps my tastes have changed. It’s probably a bit of both. The shoyu ramen here is flavourful, but not heavy at all. The generous portion of noodles, excellent chashu, and the lovely soup all make this shop worth checking out if you’re in the Ebina area.

01 Ramen

Score: 8/10

Location: Less than 10 minutes from the Odakyu side of Ebina Station, next to Vina Walk.

Address: 神奈川県海老名市中央2-5-41 (Kanagawa, Ebina, Chuo 2-5-41)

Seating: table – 17; counter – 5

Price: Shoyu/Shio ramen – ¥780; Nakamura-ya ramen – ¥980