I had a chance to visit Maru Ichi last Friday. I haven't been there in awhile, but it seems the place isn't still attracting crowds (not too crowded on a Friday evening). However, I noticed a few changes.
They used to have some non-booth tables in the middle, but now they are replaced with bars that sit about 10~15 people. This probably is a good move.
They also have a new soup base: "Kuro" (black). From the menu, it seems it is made with roasted garlic to darken the color. Also the menu's description said, it is a style from a region in Kyushu.
Anyway, my wife ordered Kuro with stewed pork (I stayed with soy sauce with stewed pork), and I took a taste. It wasn't bad and I can see the potential, but somehow I felt that that strong a "burnt" taste was not what's intended. Also, the soup was saltier than their other offerings to finish off at the end.
I thought their weakest point might be their noodles. It could have been the cooking, but they didn't have any firmness to begin with, which was surprising since I remembered they were on the firmer side the last time I visited.