九州じゃんがら kyushu jangara: protoculture ramen (秋葉原)
Geek out. Because you know you want to. And you know you would, if you were here. This is Akihabara, baby. First stop and final destination for everyone who’s ever cracked open a volume of manga, watched an episode of Naruto, and/or bought a Sony Memory Stick. Akihabara Electric Town is where you go to die, to kill yourself slowly over an artery-stiffening bowl of Jangara ramen because you’ll never have her - the one that you really really want - because you were, are, and always will be a screaming otaku. So you can’t get laid but you can go to a maid cafe for a parfait and, um, a round of King of Fighters ‘98 with some kawaii ko-chan who looks all of fifteen. She’s paid to smile by the hour, but at least you can hit the alleyway (you know, the one around the corner from all the LCD and HDTV displays) for your pork-bone crack. Because it’s as close to sex as you’ll ever get.
Close to sex, to be sure, is pretty damn good. Not Hakata Nakasu yatai good, but as thick and rich and “uber” as you’re likely to find in Tokyo.
There’s always a line, and though Kyushu Jangara is a shoebox - (it really is that small) - of sensory overload for the Playstation 3 set (all two thousand of them who lined up outside Yodobashi Camera the other day), there’s really only one menu item you need focus your darting, near-sighted eyes on - the zenbuiri ramen. Literally, it means “ramen with everything in it.” And that’s exactly what you’ll get. A relatively mellow but abura-laden tonkotsu broth, skinny noodles in the true northern Kyushu fashion, and toppings, toppings, toppings galore. Two kinds of pork: chashu and slow-stewed buta kakuni, that are as flavorful as they are fatty. Spicy cod roe. A whole shoyu-boiled egg (alas, hard boiled - you can’t win ‘em all). Tableside crushed garlic and (very) spicy pickled greens to pile high to your heart’s (dis)content.
The first time I went to Jangara, I thought that the broth was a little underdeveloped. This time, they got it right enough, flavorful but not obtrusive, so as to let the toppings - their finest feature - shine. I have no complaints, really, except for the lack of elbow room and the fact that you pretty much have to eat your world-class bowl of ramen from the fetal position, perched atop a tiny stool. Otaku, suck your thumbs all you want. Or just pretend you’re neuro-interfacing with your mech and controlling it via slurping protoculture noodles, bathed in oil and steam as the ancient Zentraedi obviously intended.
|decent shiro tonkotsu broth. a bit thin for the style, but exxon-valdez oily. had a richer flavor on my second visit. that i went back is definitely a good sign.||8.5|
|thin but futsu northern kyushu-style noodles. not too hard but not too soft. the way mother nature intended. try ordering katamen and see what happens.||9|
|jangara positively shines here. luscious, super fatty buta kakuni and chashu. mentaiko. all-you-can-garnish takana (very spicy!). egg was fully hard boiled - you can’t win them all. but everything else more than makes up for it. make sure you order the zenbuiri, with “everything in it.”||10|
|with toppings this awesome, who needs sides?||NA|
|jangara akihabara is a shoebox! but with colorful drawings everywhere and smart naturalistic wood decor, the place has a real vibe to it.||7|
|can’t beat it after a hard day of electronics shopping.||8|
2-17-6 Soto-Kanda 3-11-6