Amazing ramen that’s well worth stepping off the main road for.

With a publication as big and prestigious as the Michelin dining guide, you might think its evaluators only look at a city’s most famous or heavily marketed restaurants. Recently, though, Michelin’s Tokyo edition guided us to a hidden, backstreet eatery we don’t think we’d ever have found on our own.

Called Burari, the ramen restaurant is located not far from Nippori Station, one of the sleepiest stops on Tokyo’s Yamanote loop line. It’s not the kind of place you’re likely to stumble across unless you’re looking for it, because the entrance is at the end of a long, narrow dead-end alley, with a tanuki statue standing out front.

Burari has been featured twice in the Michelin Tokyo guide, first in 2015 and again the following year. While it doesn’t have a Michelin star, it was selected to be part of the guide’s Bib Gourmand listing, which salutes the evaluators’ recommended dining options that are both delicious and reasonably priced.

Like at many ramen joints, Burari asks customers to purchase a meal ticket from a vending machine before taking a seat. We opted for the house specialty torisayu (chicken stock) ramen and spruced it up with an additional egg topping, which came to 930 yen (US$8.25).

Once inside, we handed our ticket to the cook, sat down at the counter, and admired the restaurant’s Michelin plaques while we waited for our food. About five minutes later, we had a bowl of piping hot ramen in front of us, with steam rising from the milky-looking broth.

It turned out to be as flavorful as it looked, with the rich chicken broth washing over our taste buds as we sipped a spoonful. But as strong as the flavor was, there was still something refreshing about it. Maybe it’s because chicken broth is lighter than the pork stock of the more common tonkotsu ramen, but in any case, Burari’s torisayu broth never saturated our tongue, allowing us to enjoy it from start to finish.

It’s a similar story with the chashu-style roasted chicken, which is delicious without feeling heavy or overly seasoned. Also perfectly balanced is the texture of the broad, wavy noodles. They’re neither too firm nor too soft, but right in that magical sweet spot in the middle.

Adding the soft-boiled egg turned out to be a good call too. Breaking it open with our chopsticks let the yolk mix with the broth, and they complemented each other wonderfully. And though they may not get top billing, the standard toppings of white onion and yamakurage (dried stem lettuce) lent a sophisticated air, and a bit of satisfying crunch, to the meal.

We’re not sure what exactly has kept Michelin from giving a full-fledged star to these noodles (like it did to the ones at Tokyo ramen restaurants Tsuta and Nakiryu), but Burari is a definite star in our book.

Restaurant informaton
Burari / ぶらり
Open 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m., 5 p.m.-11:30 p.m. (weekdays), 11:30 a.m.-10 p.m. (Saturday)
Closed Sundays

Photos ©SoraNews24
[ Read in Japanese ]