Showing posts with label ramen. Show all posts
Showing posts with label ramen. Show all posts

Tori-San Ramen (Toronto) for delivery

Note: Prices in post are based on F.O.D prices and may differ when using other delivery services


Patience will help make dining on delivery a tastier experience. If I was patient, I would have looked through the package accompanying my Tori San Ramen delivery and would have discovered the nori sheets in an envelope, rather than thinking it was simply the cutlery I didn’t need.

Luckily, despite missing the instruction card on how to assemble the noodles, I still knew to reheat the broth before combining the bowl together. Bringing the soup to a boil really helps add to the experience and infused my kitchen with a comforting aroma.

Tori’s paitan broth feels thick on the tongue and has a creaminess like tonkotsu but is made with chicken bones and cartilage instead of pork. Their original Tori paitan ramen ($15) takes the signature broth and pairs it with traditional roasted cha-shu pork slices, ample amounts of bamboo shoots (likely a substitution for the missing red onion and minuscule portion of green onion), and two quail eggs.

For delivery, it was surprisingly good: the thick noodles still chewy and melded into the soup beautifully. Having not had ramen since 2019, the flavour was so vivid and satisfying. Real ramen will always put the dried packaged ones found in supermarkets to shame.

If the bowl arrived with diced red onion or just more of the spring onion, that fresh element would have been a lovely contrast against the rich soup. The only disappointing topping was the quail eggs, which had a funky taste that was a bit off putting - give me a regular onsen egg any day.

The chicken wings ($9) were delicious with a hot crispy batter that’s like karage yet with the bone in the chicken for maximum flavour. There’s something about hot fried meat with a bowl of rich noodles that makes for a complete satisfying meal.

So, maybe I wasn’t the most patient person – the anticipation of a meal and seeing the car progressing towards my home on the app gets me hungry! But, even with the missing nori sheets, the meal was a much-needed reminder of the flavourful explosion of ramen. 

Overall mark - 7.5 out of 10


How To Find Them
 Location: Toronto, Canada
 Delivery: Uber, Doordash, FoD
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Gastro World's Grading System

  • Anything under 5 - I really disliked and will never order again
  • 6 - decent for delivery and takeout, but there's better
  • 7 - this is good, for delivery and takeout
  • 8 - great for delivery and takeout, it's almost like you're in a restaurant
  • 9 -  wow, it's like I'm eating at a restaurant
  • 10 - I'd happily order this for delivery or takeout instead of dining in any day!


Is That It? I Want More!

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Konjiki Ramen (Toronto)


There’s no shortage of ramen restaurants in Toronto, but Konjiki Ramen is the first international eatery that arrives with a Michelin status. It first started out as a Bib Gourmand pick, essentially being certified as a good deal for the price, but in 2019 Chef Atsushi Yamamoto’s Tokyo location, Konjiki Hototogisu, was finally awarded a much sought after star.

So much of Japan cuisine showcases ingredients prepared in a delicate form to preserve its natural flavours. Ramen is where things start to deviate as rich stocks are combined with a host of other ingredients to create a bowl bursting with flavours. Chef Yamamoto goes one step further adding even more enhancements (lobster, wagyu, and even truffle) to create really luxurious bowls.

One spoon of their tonkotsu ($13 at North York and $14 downtown) broth and you’ll taste the difference. Their menu explains that it’s made with vast amounts of bones, skins, and other portions of the pig cooked at extremely high temperatures for a long time … the entire process taking two days.


The first sip of the broth blew me away, it has this deep richness that pulls you in and finishes with an almost earthy twist. Of course, it’s also immensely creamy, to the point I’m beginning to think that there must be dairy in it. If there was ever a cream of pork soup, Konjiki’s would make the list.

There’s even a smoky black ($14) version of the tonkotsu taking it one step further adding roasted garlic oil, and smoked cherry tomatoes and ground pork into the mix. Indeed, there’s a smokiness to it, but not to the point that you think you’re dining in the Southern USA, it still tastes like ramen.


Meanwhile, their shio clam broth ($14) ramen is on the other side of the spectrum where pork is combined with clams and chicken to create a clearer base. There is a lightness to the soup, but still an umami essence throughout the broth thanks to the porcini paste and white truffle oil. Even so, these stronger fungi flavours show restraint so that it’s not necessarily the first thing you taste. The bowl is interestingly paired with chopped arugula, basil, red onions, and pea shoot stems to give it a really fresh element as well.


The clam broth garnishes were better chosen than the tonkotsu, which include the traditional scallion, pickled vegetables, and braised bamboo shoot. But, then the regular tonkotsu includes pickled ginger and the smoky version some smoked cherry tomatoes that were both so overpowering that I had to pick them out.

Add a red wine onsen egg ($1.50) to really finish the experience. It’s left whole and the yolk cooked through but still slightly fluid. As you bite into it, the slightly warm molten centre covers the tongue.

In the end, all the bowls were flavourful but not salty, rich but not oily. Konjiki’s noodles are also what you want with ramen, there’s no choice, all arriving fairly thick so they retain a lovely chewiness. Just the way I like it.


Their chashu (sliced pork) is the only thing that makes me pause. It’s certainly tender from being sous vide, but paired with the clam broth seems to have a strong pork aroma that’s not the greatest. I do like the peppercorn rub along the edges, which give it some extra flavour. Perhaps, a bit more of the spice would help to neutralize the porky aroma.

With so much protein, their vegetable spring rolls ($5.50) is a nice way to start the meal. They are the best meatless spring rolls I’ve tasted - the filling made from julienned tofu, bamboo shoot, celery and mushroom creates a lovely combination. Although they are not overly large, the wrapper is kept thin so the vegetables flavours are front and centre. It’s paired with a mango sauce that I can’t say I love, but is a nice change from the typical sweet Thai that’s so thick and sugary.



With every visit to Konjiki, there’s a new taste to experience. Alas, I know I’ll have to eventually return during the week as Mondays and Tuesdays are when their downtown location has a special wagyu option and Wednesday a lobster bowl in North York. With their regular menu offering already such powerful flavours, just how much more intense can it get?

Overall mark - 8 out of 10


How To Find Them
 Location: Toronto, Canada
 Address: 5051 Yonge Street and 41 Elm Street

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____________________________
Gastro World's Grading System

  • Anything under 5 - I really disliked and will never go back
  • 6 - 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!


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Daikaya (Washington)


On the ground floor of Daikaya sits their ramen bar – a few booths and communal tables where diners can enjoy a bowl of noodles, small eats, and a drink. A process that starts and ends in about 45 minutes.

Even as I was ordering the mugi-miso ramen ($14) I had a feeling I should just stick with the shio (where the soup is simply seasoned with salt). But, the description on the miso was so detailed heralding “savory aromatics” and reassured me that it would be “lighter than a traditional miso”. Surely, if I was only going to dine at Daikaya once, I’d have to sample their signature dish.

The first spoon of broth was good, it was certainly rich in flavours, but wasn’t oily like some ramen bases. Then, after a handful of sips, it became too salty… by the end, I simply ate the noodles and whatever soup clung to them. The noodles also could be better. At the beginning, it starts off chewy but really softens in ten minutes. They should consider plating them less cooked so that the springy bite continues throughout the meal. To combat the softer noodles, they could have also left the bean sprouts rawer, to add more crunch.


There’s plenty of meat in the bowl: slices of tender chashu and also ground pork strewn throughout so they end up working itself into the noodles. Bits of green onion and, strangely, white onion is added for a bit of freshness. Ramen just isn’t the same without a soft boiled egg, so it was added ($1.50) and at Daikaya arrives with the lovely lava-like orange molten centre.


The ramen was so substantial we really didn’t need the gyozas ($5.50), which incorporates a dark crust, thin wrapper, and plenty of filling. Sampling it after the salty broth does means the dumpling tastes rather bland.


I really need to, quite literally, trust my gut when ordering food. After hearing all the praise for Daikaya, it was a shame I may have ordered the wrong soup base that’s caused the experience to be less exceptional. At least we arrived early enough on Sunday to avoid the wait (11am for those who want to replicate). Always look on the bright side.

Overall mark - 7 out of 10


How To Find Them
 Location: Washington, USA
 Address: 705 6th Street NW 

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Gastro World's Grading System

  • Anything under 5 - I really disliked and will never go back
  • 6 - 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!


Is That It? I Want More!

Other Gastro World posts similar to this:


Daikaya Izakaya Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


Aka-Oni Izakaya (Toronto)


While I do love expertly crafted sushi, made piece-by-piece and eaten at the optimal temperature, these meals are reserved for special occasions. Generally, I’ll limit my sushi and sashimi intake to “fancier” establishments - perhaps I’m being overly cautious, but low prices and raw seafood seem like a bad combination. Yet, I can still get my fill of cooked items at reasonable prices. The newest find is Aka-Oni Izakaya, a restaurant that offers an array of affordable lunch bento boxes amongst other dishes.


Standard items arrive with each bento meal:
  • Scalding miso soup that contains so much miso paste that it stays emulsified. A lone clam can be found at the bottom, surprisingly not overdone.
  • Simple green salad dressed with a tasty soy, lemon, and ginger dressing.
  • A daily appetizer, which in our case were two deep-fried gyozas. They’re of average quality but at least hot and freshly made.
  • A bowl of rice, even adorned with a bit of seaweed salt for extra flavour.
  • And for dessert, pieces of cut-up fruit (with the bento) and a scoop of black sesame or green tea ice cream (served afterwards).

Rarely are you able to find surf-and-turf for under $20. Aka-Oni’s take bento ($18) meets the challenge with a wee tempura lobster tail and small steak. While the lobster is frozen, you can still taste some of the lobster’s sweetness … it helps when the chef shows restraint with the batter. It’d be even better if it were cooked less.


Surprisingly, the Angus steak arrived pink-in-the-middle medium despite being cut so thinly. Simply grilled, it tasted like beef and was tender.


A generous portion of the saba shioyaki arrives in the matsu bento ($16), but does require a generous squeeze of lemon and grated radish to mask the light fishy essence (not abnormal with mackerel). Moreover, I thoroughly enjoyed the enoki stuffed beef rolls. Some may find it a tad salty, but the flavours were perfect at complimenting all the neutral crunchy mushrooms.


There aren’t bento boxes during dinner, but there is a set meal for those who like crab and sashimi. Not feeling too hungry, we stuck with some sharable dishes that spanned their entire menu. With two pages of kushiyaki skewers, we opted for the Negima chicken thigh ($2.25) and Matsusaka pork jowl ($6.99); both cooked well remaining tender, incorporated enough of the sweet and savoury glaze, and had the requisite charbroil flavour. Just don’t expect very large skewers, each containing four to five small bites at most.


For something more substantial, the grilled squid with unagi sauce ($9.99) is a better option, especially since it also uses the same glaze and has a smoky grilled flavour. With plenty of pieces to go around, the squid is of course chewier than meat but great for munching on with drinks.


I liked the freshly fried tempura prawn that’s used in the dynamite roll ($7.50), nice and crispy and still warm. Aka-Oni does a good version of the popular maki, wrapped in thin layer of rice and seaweed with the customary avocado, tobiko, cucumber, and spicy mayo.


We finished with a bowl of Hakata black garlic ramen ($11.99) selecting the thicker noodles to hold up against the stronger soup. While I would have liked the noodles to be cooked a touch less, the broth was thick and filled with flavours without relying solely on salt. While not overly large, the restaurant didn’t skimp on the toppings, including a thick slice of pork belly chashu, half an onsen egg, corn, bamboo shoot, thinly sliced black fungus, fish cake, and seaweed. It could rival a bowl served at traditional ramen restaurants downtown.


While you’ll never dream of Aka-Oni’s dishes (a nod to Jiro), they’re well prepared and decent quality for the low price. Besides, it’s one of the few places where the dishes arrived looking like the menu’s picture, if not better. Thanks to Aka-Oni, I can eat well while saving up for meticulously made sushi.

Overall mark - 7.5 out of 10


How To Find Them
 Location: Toronto, Canada
 Address: 633 Silver Star Blvd

Follow me on twitter to chat, be notified about new posts and more - https://twitter.com/GastroWorldBlog
____________________________
Gastro World's Grading System

  • Anything under 5 - I really disliked and will never go back
  • 6 - 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!


Is That It? I Want More!

Other Gastro World posts similar to this:



Aka-Oni Izakaya Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Menya Musashi 麺屋武蔵 (Hong Kong)


Menya Musashi is a Japanese ramen chain that hasn’t entered the Canadian landscape. Widely known in Tokyo, it started in Shinjuku and have won various awards since. While it’s a relatively new entrant compared to a host of other noodle shops in Japan, Menya Musashi was one of the first to offer customization options adapting their offering based on local tastes – using the same soup base in white (plain), red (spicy), and black (scallion oil) versions. Yes, it may seem like something that’s done widely now, but before the turn of the century, when it opened in 1996, stores had little choice.

To try the original base, you’ll want the shiro bukotsu ($78) that leaves the soup plain. It’ll allow you to truly taste the creamy tonkotsu broth, which combines pork bones, chicken, and bonito into a rich flavourful soup. Oh yes, I could taste the pork, but despite being thicker, Menya Mushahi’s broth is not oily and didn’t taste heavy.


Meanwhile, for a bit more flavour, the kuro bukotsu ramen ($78) adds a scallion, onion, and garlic oil into the broth. While I was a bit self-conscious that the black particles would be all over my teeth, it still didn’t stop me from finishing the fragrant soup.


Indeed, Menya’s soup base steals the show, but the other elements are good too: their noodles thick enough to have a soft chewiness and the half egg a lovely soft boil. I would prefer the pork to be thicker as it becomes lost in all the other toppings (green onions, spinach stems, and a sheet of nori).

Compared to the strong creamy ramen, the Musashi dumplings ($38) are delicate; the pork and cabbage filling lightly bound together so there’s an airy quality to the gyozas. They’re good, compared to the typical frozen variety.


With a host of Japanese ramen chains making their way into North America, it’s just a matter of time before Menya Mushashi joins the group. I’m glad I had the opportunity to try their signature tonkotsu broth without the lines.

Overall mark - 8 out of 10


How To Find Them
 Location: Wan Chai, Hong Kong
 Address: 30 Harbour Road

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____________________________
Gastro World's Grading System

  • Anything under 5 - I really disliked and will never go back
  • 6 - 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!


Ippudo (New York)


Search for the ‘best ramen in New York City’ and Ippudo generally is referenced somewhere. Hence, on a dreary rainy day, when a comforting bowl of noodles is all I yearned for, we arrived at the restaurant at 10:50 (it opens at 11) and found a line had already formed. As groups joined the queue, most looked nervous, wondering if they’d get a table and out of the rain. As it turns out, we didn’t have to worry as Ippudo’s dining room is spacious (seating at least 50) complete with a number of booths that hold large groups.

Furthermore, their kitchen is a well-oiled machine so food arrives quickly. Their buns are a must-have item to start, the vegetable ($8) version were amazing combining a warm fluffy bao, crispy deep fried battered eggplant, and meaty slices of eringi mushroom. There’s a lovely softness, crunch, and sweet oily hoisin that melds together in your mouth. One just wasn’t enough.


As the Shiromaru Hakata classic ramen ($16) is presented, you’ll be enveloped in a scent of pork and garlic. The tonkotsu broth is creamy and savoury without being oily or overly salty. The pork chashu has a nice meat to fat ratio and the pickled red ginger gives the dish an unexpected tangy kick. Eat the noodles quickly as they’re thin and the perfect springy texture at the beginning, even after a minute they begin to soften.


Likely, the noodles won’t last long anyways… the ramen is heavenly. For the first few bites, I momentarily tuned out my surrounding environment and was one with the bowl. The umami filled broth and noodles were all consuming - I couldn't get enough. By the time I was halfway through, the experience just couldn’t end. Luckily, you can order more noodles ($2), in three minutes an additional portion will be brought over so you can dump them into the remaining broth and continue chowing down. 


In retrospect, the extra noodles were too much (a half portion would have been perfect), but the ramen was so good I didn’t want the meal to finish. In a world where we’re distracted by so many things, it’s rare to find something that commands you attention. Eating as Ippudo helps to eat mindfully, call it a meditation for your stomach.

Overall mark - 9 out of 10


How To Find Them
 Location: New York, USA
 Address: 65 4th Avenue

Follow me on twitter to chat, be notified about new posts and more - https://twitter.com/GastroWorldBlog
____________________________
Gastro World's Grading System

  • Anything under 5 - I really disliked and will never go back
  • 6 - 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!


Is That It? I Want More!

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Ippudo Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


Kinton Ramen 5 (Toronto)



The newest Kinton Ramen location has just opened beside the first Kinka Izakaya (formerly Guu) … talk about coming full circle! In contrast to Kinton 1 on Baldwin and Kinton 4 in North York, the Church street restaurant is surrounded by windows giving the dining room an airy atmosphere and some turning heads as pedestrians walk by.

Its menu is identical to the other restaurants but there are some slight differences in the food’s preparation. For example, at Kinton 5 some pieces of their original karaage ($5.90) have the skin left on so that the deep fried chicken is even moister and an addition crackling crunch. Any flour coating the chicken is minimal making the appetizer lighter than the versions I’ve tried at Kinton 4 and Kinka.


Be careful when biting into the takoyaki ($4.50) … it’s HOT! As the steam settles, you can see the octopus pieces mixed into the glutinous dough of the deep fried nuggets. Its consistency is more fluid than you’d expect, but it’s not off putting and almost reminds me of a stickier deep fried turnip cake.


Having had a good experience with the spicy garlic pork noodles, I decided to try the other flavour amped offering: the spicy jalapeno chicken ramen ($11.90). The heat, stemming from the jalapeno paste, is subtle and plays peek-a-boo with the tongue; barely noticeable until the last moment the soup is swallowed.


The two slices of chicken breast weren’t overly flavourful but are tender having been cooked sous vide and goes well with the blanched diced white onions. Personally, I think the ramen should come standard with corn (an extra $1), which adds an additional punch of colour, its sweetness balancing the jalapeno and the crunch contrasting against the otherwise “soft” ingredients.

Adding on a seasoned egg ($1.50) is wise, it seems even more slowly cooked than the other locations, its yolk a molten jelly texture.


The silky chicken broth has a creamy quality without being oily so it’s a lighter meal – perfect for the warmer weather. And, it’s one of those bowls that’s easy to finish every last drop so that you too can become a Kinton Bowler and get a picture on their online wall of fame.

Overall mark - 7 out of 10
Disclaimer: The above meal was provided on a complimentary basis, but rest assured, as noted in the mission statement, I will provide an honest opinion.


How To Find Them
 Location: Toronto, Canada
 Address: 396 Church Street

Follow me on twitter to chat, be notified about new posts and more - https://twitter.com/GastroWorldBlog
____________________________
Gastro World's Grading System

  • Anything under 5 - I really disliked and will never go back
  • 6 - 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!


Is That It? I Want More!

Other Gastro World posts similar to this:


KINTON RAMEN 5 Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Ajisen Ramen (Toronto)

Let’s put it out there – I’m not a food snob. If something tastes good, happens to be inexpensive and doesn’t require waiting for then life is good. That’s somewhat how I feel about ramen restaurants - many are delicious but requires too much effort to wait around for. Yes, I’d love a bowl of satisfyingly hot noodles, but I don’t want to stand around in the cold for half an hour first.

Which is why when the Kinton Ramen line gets too long in North York, I go to Ajisen Ramen instead. Personally, I find them just as satisfying and the numerous menu options a plus as well. Some may find Ajisen’s soup milder than other chains. For me, it’s flavourful enough without being overly oily & salty and as a bonus arrives piping hot. Ajisen’s soup base is what they call “white soup”, developed in southern Japan made from boiling pork bone with other ingredients and results in a lighter milkier colour. It’s not as oily so may lack that rich fatty essence people enjoy about chicken based soups.

My husband ordered the tender rib ramen ($9.50) which actually became my favourite one. There is an ample amount of meat which has sticky pieces of tendon attached to it. As a warning, tendon is an acquired taste – some will find the gummy soft texture gross. It took me a few years to develop a liking to it and now I love the contrast between the chewy tendon and soft meat.


The protein quantity in my corn and BBQ pork ramen ($8.99) paled in comparison, with a mere three slices of the smallest and thinnest pork I’ve ever seen. Instead there was a generous handful of frozen corn and half a hard-boiled egg. Which is what I miss most about other ramen restaurants – their lovely onsen soft-boiled eggs with the vibrant yellow yolks. Sadly, you won't find it here. 


You may also find Ajisen’s noodles thinner than others. But, they were still springy and didn’t get mushy in the soup. And what I enjoy most is sprinkling the flavourful chili powder over everything. Indeed, for a true ramen connoisseur this is likely akin to pouring HP1 sauce on steak, but for a non-ramen snob it’s delicious!


Their pan fried gyoza ($4.50) was where the quality faltered dramatically. As a plus they arrive searing hot with a nice crust on the bottom. But, the wrapper is also hard and sticks together so any chance of enjoying the juices in the dumplings is gone.


In the end, Ajisen’s not the best ramen you’ll ever have. But, for the price and the table availability they’re not bad either. So, next time there’s a long wait at a competing place, give them a try. It’s certainly not the finest, but sometimes satisfying a craving earlier makes things so much better. 

Overall mark - 7 out of 10


How To Find Them

Location: Toronto, Canada
Address: 5229 Yonge Street
Website: http://www.ajisen.ca/

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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!

Ajisen Ramen on Urbanspoon


Menya Iroha 麺屋いろは(Kyoto)

Location: Kyoto, Japan
Address: Kyoto Station (10th floor in "Ramen Alley")
Website: http://www.menya-iroha.com/
Type of Meal: Dinner 
 


After visiting Japan, I’ve learnt two things about the beloved bowl of ramen:

1.    In Japan, they consider these to be “Chinese” noodles as some believe it originated from China’s hand-pulled noodles, whereas in Canada, we describe ramen as “Japanese”. In reality, the more traditional Japanese noodles are soba and udon; and

2.    The different soup bases are actually linked to different regions in Japan with miso being popular in Hokkaido, tonkotsu developed in Kyushu and black (dark soy) from Toyama.

With so many regions it feels impossible to try them all. Luckily, the 10th floor of Kyoto Station consolidates eight restaurants into Ramen Koji or Ramen Alley. Most are outposts of popular ramen chains from across Japan. My husband and I ventured to the floor and found each set-up similarly – with a vending machine order system out front and a series of tables / bars seats making up the dining room.

After doing a full circle, we ended up choosing Menya Iroha as it didn’t have a line-up but still seemed busy. I’ll admit, the big poster of Iron Chef Chen also caught our eye even though we couldn’t understand what it was advertising.  Something that’s endorsed by an Iron Chef must be good right? Upon doing some research afterwards, it turns out Menya won best ramen in the Tokyo Ramen competition for the last few years with their black ramen… hence their bragging rights.

Alas, I didn’t realize this was their specialty and after purchasing a combo of ramen, rice and gyoza (¥1,150) and being asked whether I wanted “white” or “black”, I naturally went with white as I prefer salt based soup over soy.  Had I known their crown jewel was the black ramen I would have ordered it – my husband did and said it was delicious.

Having been use to the smaller bowls of noodles served previously, we were surprised with the large size presented to us about ten minutes later. Topped with tons of Japanese scallions, bamboo shoots, a soft boiled egg, two slices of pork, three dried shrimp and a sheet of nori there was a lot of food to get through. The noodles are thinner & softer and the broth more watery than the springy noodle with thick soup combination I’ve become accustomed to in Toronto. I personally prefer the noodles to be more al dante, but enjoyed the broth as it wasn’t as heavy so I could have more of it with the ramen. The slices of pork were marbled to a bacon like consistency and so tender that it just flaked off. If only everything was hotter this would have been one of the better bowls I’ve had in my life. 

Alas, I only had a bite of the rice as I couldn’t even finish the noodles. Luckily, I wasn’t missing much as it’s pretty average - sticky rice with sprinkles of sesame seeds and very hard pieces of dried seaweed. After adding some broth into a spoon with the rice and seaweed it did help rehydrate things and make it more appetizing. 
The gyozas also needed more heat. But, I still loved the lightness of the wrapper and flavourful crust on the bottom; these wrapper didn’t get hard and rubbery as some can get once it’s been sitting out for a while. The simple pork and chive filling was pretty tame so a bit of soy sauce and chili oil was needed to give it the right flavour.

Menya Iroha’s dining space is quite small but has a fair number of counters and four top tables, each equipped with a pitcher of ice water and condiments. If you are looking for a quick and inexpensive meal, this is the place for you. We were in and out in less than half an hour and couldn't finish our meal with their hefty portion sizes. For the price it was a great quality and very satisfying. If you can’t make it to Japan, Menya also has an outpost in LA which may be a bit easier to get to.

Overall mark - 7 out of 10

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____________________________
Gastro World's Grading System

  • Anything under 5 - I really disliked and will never go back
  • 6 - 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!