Beyond Top Ramen: Noodles at Shichisai, Tokyo Ramen Street

My family and I were out near Ginza on a blistering hot and humid day in Tokyo and we figured it would make sense to go for some tsukemen at Tokyo Ramen Street, located in the basement level of Tokyo Station. The line at Rokurinsha (which wrote about recently) was long as usual, so we checked out the other seven stores that occupied the corridor to see who had a more reasonable wait. We decided to go with Menya Shichisai (麺や七彩), which is usually known for its shoyu broth ramen. They also make their noodles on site.

My wife ordered the tsukemen, which was pretty good. The tsukemen noodles, which are often thicker than those used for ramen in order to better soak up the sauce, were soft but chewy. The sauce was shoyu-based, vinegary, had a hint of smokiness, and contained pieces of pork. It’s lighter than the sauce just down the hall at Rokurinsha, but still good.

I ordered a special cold noodle soup that is being featured this summer. It consists of standard ramen noodles served in a clear, chilled yuzu flavored broth. It is then topped with cold pieces of ham, julienned Japanese cucumber, and pickled bamboo shoots. They also put in pieces of raw yuzu.

The ramen had a lot of potential, but it ultimately did not pass the test for me. The problem was the raw yuzu, which tastes like grapefruit – every time I ate a piece of it with the noodles, it made the ramen taste bitter. If you like the taste of grapefruit, then this may not be a problem for you, but I personally didn’t like it.

It’s too bad. The yuzu-seasoned broth wasn’t bad at all and, in fact, was quite refreshing as long as there wasn’t raw yuzu around it. The cold broth combined with the toppings would have made for a great bowl of noodles. But in the end, it was spoiled by the bitter grapefruit taste.

The décor at Shichisai is also quite nice. White walls and light wood colors make for a brightly lit, modern atmosphere which is punctuated with traditional-style touches such as the large Japanese curtains and the wooden boards hanging outside the store that display their menu items.

I’ll have to come back at some point and see what their standard ramen is like.

Menya Shichisai/Tokyo Ramen Street:

B1F Yaesu South Exit, Tokyo Station, 1-9-1 Marunouchi, Chiyoda-ku

Tokyo Ramen Street can be a little tricky to find if you’re not familiar with Tokyo Station. It is located on the Yaesu side, which is the eastern portion of the station. Go to the Yaesu south exit and look for the McDonald’s. Next to the McDonald’s is a flight of stairs with signs for “First Avenue Tokyo Station” and Tokyo Ramen Street. Go down the stairs to the B1 level and Tokyo Ramen Street will be right in front of you. Menya Shichisai is located in the middle of the corridor on the right, but feel free to check out the other shops as well.

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