Folks, I feel baited-and-switched.
After reading Kenji and Co.'s amazingly thorough review of Hide-Chan Ramen, and gasping in surprise at the first-place rating it received despite being a relative newcomer, I was thrilled to finally be able to head over for dinner after work today.
First off, many of the most compelling items in the review appear to be, inexplicably, no longer on the menu - including the much-lauded Pork Toro. Gone as well, apparently, is the option to order your broth "rich" style, as I was told by the waitress.
For a ramen-ya, the portion sizes are really, really small, even for me, a pretty frail 150-lb. dude. I have trouble finishing a bowl at Men Kui Tei or Ippudo, but at Hide-Chan I made it through 3 courses (Ramen, Onsen Tamago Salad & Gyoza) and a beer and still had room for Mr. Softee on the walk home.
Finally, the Kuro ramen: disappointingly devoid of any flavor other than the charred garlic oil - no salt, no porkiness... just a flat, smoky, ashy bitterness, to match my tears of regret. (As I paid my bill, the couple next to me received their own bowls of Kuro ramen. I hung my head as they took their first bites, looked at each other, and whispered "this is awful". I should have told them. I failed them, and I will carry this guilt to my grave.)
It wasn't ALL bad - positives included: noodle quality, decor, music and help-yourself beni-shoga :)
SO! My request to Kenji and Friends, in the interest of justice: would you pleeeeeez do an undercover second-opinion review of Hide-Chan, given all these changes? I think they will affect your overall rankings.