Japan Eats

Greasy Spoons (and Chopsticks): Shichifukuya Ramen

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In the first of a series on the Baba-Waseda ramen belt, Nick samples the wares at Shichifukuya.

Let it never be said that Nick’s word is not his bond. As promised, today begins our tour of the rich vein of ramen that extends from the college neighborhood of Waseda over to the home of Astro Boy, Takadanobaba. I’ll start with the highlights and add in the often older, but not always as noteworthy others afterwards.

Chashumen

Chashumen

To keep your mother happy, we begin near school, and a prestigious one at that. If you take the elevator out of Waseda station (Tozai line), turn right and walk just a bit and you’ll come to Shichifukuya, a fairly new place with the traditional-looking front and ticket machine that most new ramen shops favor these days.

Before any of that, though, the smell is going to hit you. Not like a fist, not like a dainty hand in a white glove, but like a doll jumping into your arms, only in this case, the dame is huge and it’s you being picked up.

Lovely smell. This can’t always be said, even of the best ramen, so it’s a bonus for Shichifukuya.

There’s a ticket machine outside, with a bill slot high enough that anyone who doesn’t need to duck when playing leapfrog might want to bring a taller friend to help out.

I went for the chashumen (850 yen), which was the second-most popular item according the stickers on the machine, and went inside.

Shichifukya is done out in wood, with kind of a rustic thing going on. It has the usual counter seats, but more of them than usual, as the kitchen has an L-shape. There are bigger tables at the back.

The ramen did not disappoint. The noodles were on the thick side and were good, if unremarkable in their own right (by which I mean above average in total, average for a good ramen shop).

The soup was a thick, textured miso-tonkatsu – the kind of soup it’s nice to let roll over the tongue for a while. No mere oily medium for noodles was this. The smell led to a broth that kept its end up. Large sheets of nori gave a strong marine hint to the porkstravaganza, but it was welcome.

A good start to a good tour and a solid anchor at the Eastern end of our route.

Shichifukuya is near Waseda Station on the Tokyo Metro Tozai line, across Tsurumakicho from Waseda Middle and High School. Take the elevator up, turn right out of it, go past the soup curry shop and you’ll see a black wood-fronted shop with an inviting smell that precedes its appearance on your right.