I like the idea of “Basic”.
It saves me from the stress of worrying about seasonal trends or being bombarded by ads hawking their new products. Instead, I prefer those things that provide simplicity in my everyday life. So I like finding my own basic for everything, even for Ramen.
Tucked away in a tiny back street in Setagaya is my favorite ramen shop serving simple, classic ramen that is carefully cooked by a quiet, monk-like chef. This chef is the owner of “Matsunami Ramen“ and he has been cooking up ramen at this place since 2009. He used to work at one of the well-established ramen shop in Meguro before he opened his shop.
I got to know Matsunami thorough my friend who were living in the apartment where we used to live. She also have daughter – a year older than mine and likes eating ramen as every Japanese does. And we both have same issues – Missing out on chances to enjoy professional ramen after having babies.
Ramen shops tend to be very macho & cluttered – staff are loud, greeting customers jovially as soon as they enter the tight quarters — which I do not dislike. Many shops only have a few seats at the bar and typically, it is not very child-friendly. However, Matsunami is different from the typical Ramen shop. The facade is white, and has a warm roomy wooden interior that can seat about 8 people on the bar & 8 people on the table. The staff doesn’t smile or talk very much but they’re soft & quite, which creates a relaxing and comfortable atmosphere. And you can see their passion of making perfect ramen for each customers from their graceful economy of movements. They also provide child booster seats and smaller bowls & kid-size forks, making it easier to share your ramen with your child. So many families who are living in this area like us comes to Matsunami for casual lunch on weekend or dinner on weekdays.
There are many reason I like about Matsunami and I really appreciate their child-friendly settings, but what the most I like about them is, of course their ramen.
I usually order “Shina-soba”, which is one of the regular menu items of this shop; fine firm soba noodles in pure homemade soy-flavored broth made with chicken stock, dried small sardines, seaweed and various vegetables. Simple, yet a deep fresh taste that I enjoy immensely. Despite ramen which is known for its greasy, this is healthy comfort food. And it’s good enough that I’m happy to give to my children.
Occasionally, I go to other ramen shops to try new flavors or a famous franchise, but I always come back to my basic at Matsunami. Their simple & honest taste in their noodles and broth and ambiance comforts me.
Matsunami Ramen（松波ラーメン） 東京都世田谷区若林３丁目１９−７
– Open from 11:30～14:30 and 17:00～22:00 * Sunday only open for lunch
– Close on every Wednesday and 2nd & 4th of Thursday