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2006-09-15

Ramen Jiro/Ikebukero
ラーメン二郎/池袋東口店

 

Of all the Ramen Jiro locations on or inside the loop (Yamanote-sen) Ramen Jiro Ikebukero Higashi Guchi (== East Exit) is one of the best overall experiences. It has a high degree of cleanliness, the store is reasonably spacious, it's relatively close to the station, and the volume and quality of the product is high. The Ikebukero Jiro is also a very true and "standard" Ramen Jiro taste. The Ikebukero Jiro and the Shinjuku Nishi Guchi (== West Exit) Jiro are the two Jiros that I recommend to first-time Jiro customers, be they locals or visitors who perhaps don't want to travel a long distance. Only after sampling one of those two shops do I recommend that you then try some of the other "rougher" Jiros, these other stores differ widely in taste and "ambiance". Another blogger wrote that there seem to be more women in the Ikebukero shop than in others, and I would tend to agree with that. This shop is one of the Ramen Jiros also that has a large wall of expired train passes and meishi (business cards) tacked on there by customers. Some of them are 10-20 years old and are so faded that you can hardly read them.

So the Ikebukero Jiro has a fairly good volume for the price, if you get the shou (小). The soup does have a high degree of fattiness in it, even for a Jiro. The veggies seem to be more on the moyashi side. The noodles are not that katame although you can ask for that if you want. The staff is very attentive and busy here (there have been 3 or 4 of them every time I have gone), and there's a larger number of seats than the average Jiro. The line snakes around in the store so you (usually) have to eat while people are standing over you watching, if that bothers you. That's the case in a number of Ramen Jiro shops though.

06/28/07 Update - The Ikebukero Jiro now has tsukemen and omori tsukemen for the summer.

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