Burnt Miso Ramen at Gogyo

IMG_3173When people first hear me mention burnt miso ramen, they usually think it sounds intriguing and want to try it.  However, some folks are a little more skeptical.  After all, how good could burnt anything really be? But rest assured, the burnt miso ramen at Gogyo (五行) is among some of the tastiest ramen I have had so far in Tokyo.

Gogyo is owned by the same company that brought you the venerable Ippudo chain of tonkotsu ramen shops. There are three locations in Japan — two in Tokyo (Nishiazabu and Ginza) and one in Kyoto — but the only branch I have been to is the one in Nishiazabu, just a short walk from the center of Roppongi and right across from Hardy Barracks, a small U.S. military base.  Unlike most ramen shops in central Tokyo, there’s actually plenty room and seats to spread out in, making it a good place for parents like yours truly to bring their noodle-addicted kids.  The Gogyo in Nishiazabu also has a open floor plan, so you can see right into the kitchen as they roast the miso, setting off some spectacular flames in the process.

There are several ramen options at Gogyo, including a burnt soy sauce ramen, soy sauce-tonkontsu ramen, shio (salt) ramen, and tsukemen.  But it’s the burnt miso ramen that’s the star of the menu.

The burnt miso ramen comes to you in a big black bowl with a dark brown soup and a layer of black, char-like specks on top.  But the soup is actually quite smooth, with a deep, rich flavor that manages to not taste all that heavy.  The slices of pork are sweet and succulent, with a good amount of fat layered within the meat.  The noodles are flat, thin, and have a nice chewiness.  There’s also some cabbage, a slice of fish cake, and half of a poached egg that work with the pork and noodles to add some contrasting brightness to an otherwise dark looking bowl of ramen.  During lunch time, you can order set meals that feature a bowl of ramen and side dish of your choice such as dumplings or a pork rice bowl.

If you’re in Tokyo, Gogyo’s Ginza shop is perhaps the easiest one to find, as it is a short walk from Ginza Itchome station on the Tokyo Metro’s Yurakucho line.  The Nishiazabu branch may require some more walking and searching for some folks, and can be accessed from Roppongi (on either the Metro’s Hibiya line or the Toei Oedo line) or from Nogizaka (the Metro’s Chiyoda line). If you use the Oedo line, get out at Tokyo Midtown and walk northwest along Gaien Higashi Dori (the street that runs in front of Midtown) until you get to the corner where there is a Idemitsu gas station.  Turn left and keep walking in the direction of the National Art Center, staying on that street as it curves around the National Art Center and then under an overpass a short distance later.  About five minutes after walking past the Center, you’ll find Gogyo on your left.  Please also refer to the map below.

No matter which store you decide to go to, the burnt miso ramen is definitely worth the trip.

Locations: Three branches in Japan.  The Nishiazabu shop is located at 1-4-36 Nishiazabu, Minato-ku, Tokyo.  The Ginza shop is located at 2-4-6 Ginza, Chuo-ku, Tokyo on the 7th floor of the Ginza Velvia Kan (銀座Velvia館).  Address and map of the Kyoto store can be found here.
Business Hours: Nishiazabu branch: (Monday-Saturday) 11:30am-4:00pm, 5:00pm-3:00am; (Sunday and Holidays) 11:30am-4:00pm, 5:00pm-12:00am.  
Ginza branch: (Monday-Wednesday) 11:30 am – 3:30 pm, 5:30 – 11:00 pm; (Thursday-Saturday) 11:30 am – 3:30 pm, 5:30 pm – 2:00 am; (Sunday) 11:30 am – 3:30 pm, 5:30 – 10:00 pm
Kyoto Branch:  (Monday-Friday) 11:30 am – 3:00 pm,6:00 pm – 12:00 am; (Saturday) 11:30 am – 3:30 pm, 5:00 pm – 12:00 am; (Sunday) 11:30 am – 3:30 pm,5:00 – 11:00 pm
Map: Gogyo locations in Nishiazabu and Ginza, Tokyo
Map: Gogyo location in Kyoto

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