Have heard a lot about Ichiran and the name seems to have a very loyal following of fans, so I was eager to try. I wwent to the Roppongi branch.
Ichiran has some very straight forward, no-frills, delicious ramen in their "secret recipe" tonkotsu (pork bone) broth. With only one soup choice, the focus is on their noodles. I like my noodles on the harder chewy side; I found the "Hard" the perfect texture, and soaking up the perfect amount of soup. Something to keep in mind when you purchase tickets from the vending machine: "Standard" bowl of ramen comes with noodles, soup, pork, chives and red sauce (amount separately determined) (JPY790). Egg, fungus, seaweed are all bought separately (~JPY100 each).
This was my first time in a ramen "booth" setting where customers sit along a counter with dividers between each chair to ensure privacy. The booth is "self-sustaining", with private water taps, tissues, and a button to hail for service. Contact with service staff otherwise kept to a minimum, with a bamboo curtain between you and the server (which is raised to take orders and/or to deliver food only).
This place is perfect for a quick meal on the run or a plain meal on your own. Apparently, I'm told proper etiquette is to keep chatting and noise to a minimum. (Having come at an off-lunch hour with my boyfriend, we likely totally breached this convention.) Despite this seemingly isolating type of place, people are warm and friendly: we were unsure how to use the vending/ordering machine and one member of staff came out without prompting to explain things to us.
How things work:
The order/vending machine is at the entrance of the restaurant, outside the main door. You place $$ in first, then select all the food you want; when you're done, the machine spits out tickets for each food item and your change. Then, upon entry to the restaurant, there is a "seat map" -- occupied seats light up in red, free seats are unlighted. You seat yourself at free seats. At the seats, you find a "checklist", where you choose how you want your soup to be -- how strong, fatty, oily, spicy, etc -- and how hard (i.e. how al dente) the noodles to be. (Note to those who like spicy food: the sauce is not nearly as spicy as the card makes it out to be.) Your meal tickets + your soup/noodle checklist is collected from under the curtain, then your meal to you from under the same curtain. When you're ready for your extra portions or need any other help, you push the "help button" in the front-middle of your table to call for staff. When you're done, you simply pack up and leave.
I would return!
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.