Near the Shinagawa JR station (and in the general vicinity of the Shinagawa Prince Hotel), there is a “Ramen Road,” otherwise known as the Shinatatsu Ramen Plaza, a collection of ramen shops that runs along the sidewalk.
While we waited for our airport train (of course we chose a later train to give us time to visit Shinatatsu), we stopped by for a fill-up. I’d already decided in advance on a bowl of tsukemen from Tetsu, but that didn’t spare me from the agony I felt walking past each of the other six ramen shops before reaching the safe haven at the end of the block (that would be Tetsu).
According to Ramen Walker, Tetsu’s contribution to the innovation and popularization of tsukemen, which used to be served cold (a summertime noodle dish), was to serve the dipping broth hot. Whatever associative body that hands out awards for tsukemen gave Tetsu the nod for best tsukemen in 2008 and 2009, according to the Tokyo Times.
We had a slight wait when we got there, having been just beat out by a smattering of salarymen, but we got our tickets for two orders of the house special chashu tsukemen. Once we got seated, the staff snatched up our tickets and we watched the line action behind the counter.
The noodles were wide and chewy, perfect for the thick, deeply emulsified tonkotsu broth, which was supremely funky, fatty and fishy (all of those attributes are good, by the way). Aromatically, there was a strong dose of bonito and perhaps other seafood in the broth, which appeals to my personal taste but also helps balance out the richness of the tonkotsu base. The seasoned egg, menma (bamboo shoots), and chashu (marinated) came in a dish on the side.They all came together. I missed out on the hot stone, which apparently one can request for the broth in order to keep it hot (it does, with all the dipping and extracting of noodles, lose its temperature relatively quickly), but perhaps this particular branch didn’t have them.
And all was right with the world.
Tsukemen TETSU (Tokyo Times)
Shinatatsu Ramen Mentatsu Shichininshu
3-26-20 Takanawa Minato-ku Tokyo
Business hours (for the plaza): 11:00 a.m. – 11:00 p.m.
* Open hours are different for each shop.
(Ramenate / Japanese website)