I'm writing this review in response to some of the other reviews posted here. It seems though there is a misunderstanding going on with regards to Menya. Specifically with regards to their Nagahama ramen.
I've been to Benkei ramen and Motomachi Shokudo, and although I was excited at the prospect of eating authentic Japanese ramen (which it was), I was a little deflated from the realization that there was no Kyushu tonkotsu ramen.
For those of you who don't know, Kyushu tonkotsu ramen is the variety of ramen that they have on the island of Kyushu. Although there is some variation in the types of ramen among different areas and prefectures of Kyushu, you can collectively call them Kyushu tonkotsu as they are all quit different from ramen from the rest of Japan.
At Menya, this variation of Kyushu tonkotsu ramen is called: Nagahama ramen. Nagahama is an area of Fukuoka city where this ramen started.
Kyushu tonkotsu ramen is special for 2 reasons:
1. The noodles are extremely thin. They are also much more straight and white than the curvy, yellow, mid-thickness (not as thick as udon) noodles that you find in Tokyo and Hokkaido ramen.
I love this kind of noodle! much more so than the yellow, curvy noodles.
2. The broth is exclusively made from pork bones. There is no shio, shoyu or miso flavoring going on here. And even if there is, its a small amount. Ramen cooks pride themselves on their 'secret recipie' brew of pork broth. The whole process is quite labor intensive. Its a contradictory soup: thick in that it is rather rich and fatty, opaque-looking like a miso broth. On the other hand, it is thin in that it is essentially a soup that doesn't really 'coat' the noodle completely.
As anyone who has walked by a ramen shop in Kyushu can attest, its a smelly proposition! One whiff of cooking smells coming out of the exhaust fan of a ramen kitchen is enough to make you gag. What does it smell like? ASS! Yes, it smells like ass, and the reason why is because they're boiling the pork bones down to make the broth. But don't let that turn you off, the results are quite delicious.
For those of you who are used to the ramen they serve at Benkei or Motomachi will find the toppings included in the Nagahama ramen to be a little bare. This is what its supposed to be like. A few slices of chashu (grilled fatty pork), some bright red sliced ginger, and sesame seeds to taste. Sometimes a boiled egg is included too.
Now, going back to the noodles, they have this thing called "kae-dama". This is a second helping of noodles. Yes, just noodles. The idea is to get a top-up on noodles should tell people that Kyushu tonkotsu ramen noodles are good, and worth getting seconds for.
Admittedly, it is a very sparse offering. Simple broth, simple noodles, not a lot of toppings. The deliciousness is in the simplicity of the presentation and the taste of uncluttered, well prepared bowl of noodles. This is how they eat it in Fukuoka and this is how I like it.
So don't trash the ramen if its not what you're used to and especially if you don't know what you're talking about.
Apparently, the owner's wife is from Fukuoka, and hence the inclusion of Nagahama style ramen.
To my knowledge, this is the only place in town that serves Kyushu tonkotsu and I love them for it. It's quite a 'niche' type of food to be serving, but I'm just glad that they do!
For novices, I would say the Nagahama style ramen is an acquired taste, but you should go give it a try.
I haven't tried the other ramen, so I cannot comment on those.