Showing posts with label chicken sunomono salad. Show all posts
Showing posts with label chicken sunomono salad. Show all posts

CLOSED: Ryu's Noodle Bar (Toronto)

Location: Toronto, Canada
Address: 33 Baldwin Street
Type of Meal: Dinner

Baldwin Village just keeps getting more diverse with every visit making me want to go back for more. For this occasion, my friends and I checked out another Toronto Common event - the Tokyo cafe style ramen tasting at Ryus Noodle Bar for $20.

There’s not much to say about Ryu’s interior – it’s small and sparse, has a fair amount of seating and decent enough conditions. Before the ramen came out we each got a platter containing various meats with sauces, gyozas and a chicken sunomono salad. Essentially, a condensed portion of items normally offered on their regular menu – the meat platter and gyozas priced at $15.75 and $4.95, respectively.

We were treated to sous-vide beef & chicken and slow simmered pork belly. Indeed the beef had a beautiful pink centre while not a speck of blood thanks to the tempered water bath it was cooked in. Yet, the meat itself was a tad tough and not as tender as you’d expect. The chicken was nicely cooked but the star was the pork belly (or cha shu) which had a decent flavour even without any sauces. Otherwise, on the side were XO sauce, sweet & spicy ginger paste, yuzu pepper paste and truffle oil allowing us to personalize what we wanted with each meat. For me all were a delight with the exception of the truffle oil; although it smells very aromatic it really didn’t add much to any of the meats.

The middle bowl contained a pork and a vegetable gyoza, both had thin wrappers and a fair amount of filling. Juicy on the inside and a nice developed crust on the outside, they were what you’d hope for with pan fried dumplings.

Lastly, the chicken sunomono salad was filled with chunks of sous-vide chicken and thick seaweed. Conceivably it was due to having so much of the sauces accompanying the meat but I found the salad itself quite bland, especially the chicken. However, with the condiments on the side I was able to flavour it myself and possibly Ryu’s didn’t care to highlight this dish given it’s not a part of their regular menu.

Onto the main event. In succession a miniature bowl of each noodle (typically $10 a bowl) was brought out and to begin the traditional shio ramen. Immediately what stuck out was Ryu’s soup, it is thick and intensely flavoured! Ryu boasts that dried various seafood (scallop, shrimp, clam, cuttlefish and bonito) are boiled for 50 hours to develop this umami filled broth. You can definitely taste the essence and thankfully wasn’t salty at all - just enough to balance against the thick springy noodles, white fungus, bamboo shoots and meat accompanying the ramen.

Although the shio was good, my favourite was their new cold noodle salad that will be offered in the summer months. Although not the most beautiful looking, the taste is delicious. Cold al dante noodles are tossed within a sweet & spicy sesame sauce, topped with more pork, chicken and crunchy black fungus. The sauce hits you in succession – first the sweetness, then the nuttiness and finally ending with a hit of heat. I can see this being a hit during the hot months when hot steaming broth isn’t appealing.

The edamame potage noodle arrived next, another summer addition. In this cold version the noodles are sitting in a thick tofu milk with blended edamame giving it some texture and a beautiful light green colour.  One for the vegetarians it simply contains sweet corn and white fungus. For me, the natural sweetness of the corn and edamame almost made it seem like dessert (yet still having a bit of a savoury element). Although light and refreshing at first, as I ate more of it the taste became a bit flat. I’d suggest offering it in small portions as an ending or marketing it as a “healthy” choice for those who’d rather watch calories than indulge in taste.

Lastly, a hot spicy miso ramen which flooded our mouths with a mix of chili and spices. Using a spicy bean paste the broth had a real depth to it – although personally too spicy for me to really drink on its own. Yet, when combined with the chewy noodles, diced tofu and minced pork it was delicious. If you like the Chinese dan dan noodles or the Korean ja jang myeon, you’ll likely also like this offering.

To end, a miniature mason jar containing Rieko's Japanese style creme brulee. There’s a thin layer of brulee made from large crystals of raw sugar, some still intact adding a crunchiness to the dessert. The custard is cool and creamy with a nice vanilla flavour to it. All in all, not a bad way to end the meal.

Overall, the ramen tasting was quite enjoyable and I love trying different types of noodles so you never actually get sick of having too much of the same thing. Perhaps Ryu should offer it as an ongoing menu item (or even just a cold and hot offering) as I’m sure it’s something other customers would love to try.

Overall mark - 8 out of 10

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Gastro World's Grading System

  • Anything under 5 - I really disliked and will never go back
  • - decent restaurant but I likely won't return
  • 7 - decent restaurant and I will likely return
  • 8 - great restaurant that I'd be happy to recommend
  • 9 - fantastic restaurant that I would love to visit regularly and highly recommend
  • 10 - absolute perfection!