A faceful of steamy aromas waft up as I plunge into the opaque broth with chopsticks in one hand and a boat-shaped renge spoon in the other. Okiboru may be best known for its tsukemen dipping ramen, but a bowl of its tonkotsu is a superb antidote for a dreary day.
The house-made noodles are thin, firm and bouncy — just short of al dente. They continue to soften slightly in the hot tonkotsu. Complexity builds in layers: The long rolling boil of pork bones releases gelatin, adding thickness and furthering the richness. Fat lends slickness and helps the soup stick to the noodles. And you get vegetal sweetness from onion and garlic, as well as the rounding salinity of soy.
The bowl is not overpowered by extra toppings. Thinly cut slices of brined and braised pork (chashu) are lightly singed and meltingly tender. An egg with a firm but soft white and mostly liquid yolk is unctuous. A handful of scallion slivers are tossed in, but it’s all about the bone broth, which tastes like it has been cooking for ages.