Stopped in at Chabuya for lunch today. Right around 11:30, I was the first customer in the door, quickly followed by two parties of two each. By the time I left, it was still fairly empty.
I normally wouldn't post on such a well known restaurant, but previous posts seem so negative that I'm willing to throw in this positive report.
Ambience: I can't imagine anyone complaining about the ambience. Very clean, somewhat spartan, well lit, cool, and well spaced for a casual eatery.
Service: could not possibly have been nicer. I read some complaints about attitude, but this could not have been further from the truth today. My server was right on top of things, very friendly, efficient, and all smiles. The busboys and chefs were all friendly enough as well, and I got a nice chime of good byes and thank yous as I exited. Perhaps they've taken complaints to heart? Edit: food did come out very quickly, as in under ten minutes from the time I ordered. The women sitting next to me were served quickly as well. Of course, I don't know what it's like at peak hours.
The Noodles: stuck to the classic ramen. The noodles were on the thin side as ramen goes, and slightly al dente when they arrived at the table. As I ate, the softened up. To me, this is perfect. I would rather have this than perfectly soft noodles that turn into a soggy mess as i eat.
The Broth: slightly salty, but I'm very sensitive to salt so I think for most people it would be pleasant. It came piping hot. Almost too hot to eat. Again, this meant it was perfect for smelling and savoring slowly while the noodles softened up. The soup was murky, almost creamy, with that elusive texture that miso broth sometimes has. I was a little surprised because I hadn't ordered miso in my ramen, but enjoyed the unctuous mouthfeel.
The Accoutrements: one slice of pork, pickled bamboo, and sprinklings of nori and toasted white sesame seeds. If it's the little things that count for you, Chabuya does it right. The pork was tender if a bit on the fatty side (fine by me), the bamboo was tangy and crunchy, and the sesame seeds had a fresh toasted flavor.
All in all, a much more enjoyable than Kinchan's. The portions at Kinchan may have been bigger, and it was certainly fine ramen, but as all around sensory experiences go Chabuya has the edge.
Anything better in the immediate area?