TOKYO | Usagi is my favourite ramen shop in Tokyo. The first time I tried ramen here I enjoyed it so much that I visited a second time during the same trip, something I rarely do when travelling. It’s conveniently located, about a 10 minute walk from Shibuya station, and just around the corner from Shinsen station. The space is small and narrow. A wooden bar surrounds the open kitchen, with space for around 12 patrons. Rotation is quick, so you’re never waiting too long for a spot, although if you have a group you might have to stagger your entrance as seats become available.
A light shoyu (soy sauce) based broth forms the base of the ramen at Usagi, and is made without artificial flavours. The basic ramen comes with thin springy noodles, mizuna (Japanese mustard greens), and the usual options of chasu pork and onsen egg. It’s a great way to taste just how good the ramen here is. Other options include things like wonton ramen, spicy karamen, tantanmen, and tsukemen. Of the options, it’s the tantanmen that had me coming back for more.
A Japanese riff on Chinese dan dan noodles, Usagi’s tantanmen is spicy version of the signature shoyu broth with vibrant red chili oil, Sichuan pepper, minced pork, scallions, and house made peanut butter. The flavours are extremely well balanced and while it is spicy, it’s not too intense. It’s unlike any ramen I’ve eaten before, and I still think about it today.
It’s not just the ramen that’s fantastic here too. The gyoza are brilliant. Steamed just right and pan friend on one side, with the perfect ratio of pork filling to dumpling skin. Even if you’re not that hungry after enjoying your ramen, they’re a must order – you won’t be disappointed.
The owner of Usagi is the younger brother of famed Japanese record producer, DJ, composer and arranger Nujabes. So as a bonus to the fantastic food and friendly service, the music that plays in the venue is Nujabes’ fantastic mellow, nostalgic and atmospheric brand of jazz infused hip-hop.
Telephone: 03 3464 4111
Mon – Fri: 11:30am to 2:30pm; 6:00pm to 10:00pm
Sat: 11:30am to 2:30pm