Happened to be in Chinatown today for lunch and instead of having a banh mi, old style canto food, or braving the howlin Rays line I settled on a new tsukemen joint called Okiboru.
They have a small restuarant that seats around 20 ppl. You order at the counter and there’s an open kitchen where you can see the cooks preparing the broth, grilling the ribs, etc.
I ordered the Okiboru ( i think it means big bowl). It came with 3 pork ribs, a soft boiled egg, some pickled daikon, and a lime.
I found their tsukemen broth to be very pleasing and flavorful with a strong smoky bonito flavor mixed with what I believe was chicken and pork broth. It was savory without being over powering and also the right silky consistency to cling to the noodles without being gravy. It contained small meaty bits and also a few pickled menma that weren’t over cooked and delivered some tartness and texture.
The noodles were definitely the star of the show. They hand make their noodles daily and they are definitely hands down better than the tsukemen noodles at both Tsujita or menya. The noodles had a great al dente chew and a wheat flavor that contrasted well with the consistency of the tsukemen broth.
The ribs were very good although I had some issues with their preparation and how they fit into the dish as a whole. They were very flavorful and tender with great smoky char from the grilling. However, the ribs had a very slight sweet glaze that I felt didn’t go well with the noodles and the ribs were not warmed all the way through. The ribs seemed to be a seperate dish that didn’t pair well with the noodles and the broth. However they were very tasty individually. The soft boiled egg was also perfectly cooked.
Another small complaint they served the tsukemen with a big wooden traditional serving spoon that didn’t really make any sense as it didn’t fit well with the proportions of the broth bowl, I guess they prefer aesthetics over functionality.
I came to restuarant very skeptical since-they aren’t an established company, opened with little fanfare, the owners are not Japanese and don’t have any culinary pedigree that I’m aware of. But I would have to say that I was pleasantly surprised. I prefer this broth over both menya and Tsujita as it is more balanced, still flavorful but less heavy (although some may prefer the super pork heavy Tsujita broth) and the noodles were far better than either noodle offerings at the other places. Definitely would return and I would recommend that you check it out if you’re in the area.