Yotsuya 3-chome: Udon
Norabutaya (Yotsuya 3-chome: Udon)
Open 11am-2:30, 5-10:30pm (LO) daily.
Sun: Open Sundays

The roux at this curry-udon shop is dark brown in color and spicy, with a flavor profile that approaches the Platonic ideal of Japanese curry. There's a bowl of syrupy, spicy sauce on the table if you want to add some extra heat. But what makes Norabutaya stand out from the crowd is the quirky selection of toppings that accompany the udon noodles - grilled chicken, chicken tempura, cheese, potato croquettes, and fried oysters among them.

Perhaps the most appealing is the "toro toro buta" - fatty grilled pork cheeks with a nice smoky flavor. Thin slivers of pungent scallion create a good counterpoint to the rich flavors of the curry. The noodles themselves are thick and plain, functioning mainly as a delivery vehicle for the sauce. (A not entirely efficient delivery vehicle, we might add, which is why paper bibs are provided.)

Curry udon starts at Y723, with various permutations of topping ingredients available in set combinations or a la carte. The menu also offers curry rice, katsu curry rice, takoyaki and chicken karaage, the latter two as inexpensive side dishes. The interior has a rustic decor, with heavy dark-brown wooden furnishings. Most of the menu is also ready for take-out.

Yotsuya 3-chome
Shinjuku-ku, Yotsuya 2-11, Daimura Bldg 1F.
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Tokyo Beyond Sushi - the guidebook
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Venue listing from Bento.com4 Star Rating: recommended