A story of a real chef opening his own restaurant serving food that makes diners groan in delight
Opened in Akihabara in June 2011 “Motenashi Kuroki” is a ramen restaurant boasting a no-artificial-ingredients menu people ready to stand in a long queue for.
Its exterior resembles the kind of a top-grade Japanese cuisine restaurant – clean and refined, very much frequented by female diners and ramen aficionados alike, fascinating them, filling them with the most delicious ramen, and their hearts with admiration and delight.
Its owner, Mr. Kuroki, is quite well-known in the world of gastronomy – a specialist in foreign cuisines, having previously worked in both Japanese and Italian restaurants, served as a head chef in multi-national corporations and at international conference venues, as well as having a great deal of experience in brand development for food industry corporations.
Motenashi Kuroki (meaning “Welcoming Kuroki” in Japanese) focuses on such dishes as Shio Soba and Miso Ramen, while also adding Tan-men noodles to the evening menu – with all of the dishes having received a lot of overwhelmingly positive media exposure, and gained leading prominence in the world of Ramen cuisine. Each plate is created with the utmost attention to its visual impact and presentation making diners gasp with admiration just by looking at it.
A specially made Shio Ramen in Motenashi Kuroki has a rich taste with toppings seasoned and prepared so thoroughly that they can be served as stand-alone dishes in their own standing. Ramen quality is so superb that one feels as if dining at a high-end Japanese cuisine parlor.
With admiration and excitement, sitting in front of bowls of perfect ramen, diners in Motenashi Kuroki can feel that ingredients used in the dishes they eat have been rigorously selected and treated with exhaustive thoroughness.
The concept of Motenashi Kuroki is “Being of High-Quality”
Motenashi Kuroki is distinguished by an exterior and interior of a Japanese cuisine restaurant, cleanliness and visually attractive plating styles.
That both soups and toppings are cooked with refine taste and utmost care goes without saying, what’s more – types of noodles are also varied according to menu. Motenashi Kuroki Ramen does not make compromises.
Ramen tasting sublime. So, what is the point of attention?
Replies the owner: “Having come into ramen from a different field, I was thinking to make something new. Ramen has evolved greatly during the past 10 years. This evolution was warmly welcomed by consumers, which in turn have become more demanding. Both ramen itself and consumers alike have undergone an evolution, so it is necessary to adapt to new tastes.”
Why did you think of opening your Ramen restaurant?
I was excited that in Ramen everything is condensed in just one single bowl, that all your effort is focused on only one single dish. With other types of food, when there are several dishes to offer, you can still make it – even if one or two items on the menu would not be on par. With Ramen, you have to do your best with just one bowl. I was fascinated by its overwhelming intensity. Aside from pepper, other spices and dried plums, I add my own touch to all components of the ramen I make. The flavor oils, miso and vinegar I use are all original – I season them myself with ingredients like roasted Ago fish, chili-powder and others.
Why did you start using Yamato-made noodle machines to produce your own noodles?
“I first decided to self-produce my own noodles to differentiate myself from the rest in the field. I thought it would give me a lead over competitors. I learned about Yamato after starting to research about noodle making machines. I visited several demonstration events which gave me an opportunity to learn about outstanding safety of Yamato-made equipment. Yamato can absolutely be trusted upon: they provide after-service as well as help with recipe development should you want to produce any certain type of noodles, which is really helpful.”
What is your future dream?
What I want to do is to raise the basic level of what is considered a good quality ramen. When it comes to sushi, you have a wide range of places to eat them at – from high-end restaurants to places offering sushi on a conveyor belt. And you have that fascinating feeling you get from dining out at high-end places. I think ramen also deserves that sort of high-quality places too – the kind of places that would serve what would truly impress customers! My customers already say they are impressed, but I’m striving for an even higher standard.
I want to reach a point when “Ramen in Tokyo” and “Motenashi Kuroki” become synonyms. In ramen, the distance between a restaurant and its customers is very close. Unlike standard restaurant fare, ramen is a food where customers are also participants. I believe ramen is a ‘team sport’ like baseball or soccer where you achieve results together. Customers help us grow, they support us.
The speed of change in the Ramen world is fast, so you have a lot of newcomers from other fields who bring something different thus contributing to the evolution of ramen itself, but consumer tastes are evolving as well, so you can’t keep doing the same thing forever, you have to keep exploring new horizons.
Ramen restaurants network
In ramen business there are many lateral connections. It is exciting that same-minded people collaborate with each other: you have, for example, that funny sounding 11-restaurant alliance called “Young (looking) generation for Changing Japanese Ramen” (class of 2011) featuring many famous places like Matador, Soranoiro, Nagi. It’s amazing!
“Absolutely. 2011 is because this is when we started outreaching into foreign markets! [laughing].
We organize common projects like Noodle Olympics, or giving out free t-shirts if you eat
noodles made from a new kind of flour at all restaurants.”
Ramen world comes up with exciting initiatives aimed at bringing delight and joy to its customers.
Master Kuroki has positioned himself at the very edge of Ramen evolution, and is engaged in creating new Ramen culture.
Despite being very easy-going, kind-natured and smiling in everyday life, when in his restaurant, striving for perfection in everything from straining water from noodles to arranging servings, Master Kuroki’s expression is serious and resolute.
His wife’s manner of serving the customers is attentive and pleasant, making it easy for female audience to come to the restaurant.
Master Kuroki, together with his wife, is fighting his battle with an utmost determination, and a bowl of ramen is where the battleground is – a bowl of ramen of peerless quality truly befitting the mastery of a food business professional opening his own ramen restaurant – a restaurant that began attracting queues of eager customers right away after it had only been opened. Why wouldn’t you venture to visit the award-winning place too, and try its marvelously delicious menu on the very forefront of Ramen cuisine?
Master Kuroki, we appreciate your willingness to talk to us despite being so busy. Please feel free to contact us should there be anything we could help you with. We sincerely wish you good luck!
(by team Yamato)