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Thursday, September 30, 2010

Kenzo Ramen :: Japanese Noodles


Sometimes all I want is a good, steaming bowl of noodles. I will admit that many a night I've snatched a pack of Nong Shim instant noodles from the top of my fridge (where I hide a lot of my really "bad" food - I figure that if it requires a stool to grab, I'll only go for it when I really want it). So bad but so good. Crack an egg in there, add some greens (bok choy!), whatever leftovers you have in the fridge, and mm mm good. You can also stir fry the noodles after cooking!

But enough about instant noodles.

If it's not a midnight craving, I'll head to Kenzo for a quick bowl of salty yet satisfying ramen. On more than one occasion, I've slipped in past 10pm to just make the last call.


Kenzo Ramen
Verdict:  Quick, tasty bowl of noodles
Meal: Lunch/Dinner
Price:
$10 + tax & tip
Location: 138 Dundas St W




I've tried almost everything on the menu. While my favourite is still King of Kings, I decided to try something different this time. I'll chat more about the other bowls after some food pr0n:

Tonkatsu Ramen ($8.95)
Hakata Pork Bone Soup

Salty noodle goodness
 
Baby bok choi, red peppers, green onions, pork, and the classic swirly-dough-ramen-guy in a salty broth. This definitely satisfied my noodle craving. Pork is my favourite when it comes to ramen, and I always savour the egg - it consistently arrives at a perfect sunny colour - just between soft and hard boiled. The tasty broth, filling egg-based noodles, slices of salty pork, and veggies make this yummy bowl. As you can see, I dumped a load of spices in my noodles which really perked it up. Would've been just as happy without it but I can never get enough spice!
Soft & Sunny boiled egg

Ji Su Men ($9.95)
Finely chopped chicken i a special thick soup
Check out that thick, shiny broth!

I love sesame. Sometimes I just eat it by the spoonful from the cupboard. In fact, I think I'll go do that now. Mmm.

The first few slurps were very tasty. The second few were good. Halfway through, the sesame oil had coated my mouth and I was quickly feeling full which is not normal for me. It usually takes me about 20 minutes to get there (hence why I often get a food baby and feel regrets from overeating) but the overload of thick sesame oil made me feel icky and pretty uncomfortable for awhile after. Well I can't blame it all on the Ji Su Men - my friend finished less than half of her bowl so I polished the rest off. I have issues with leaving food behind!

The "special thick soup" is essentially broth, cracked egg, and lots of sesame seed oil. The bowl was full of tasty vegetables - cabbage, sprouts, greens, mushrooms, and garlic. The chicken was good, but nothing beats salty slices of pork.

If you really like sesame you will enjoy this. I did in the beginning. However, if your system tends to reject an overload of oil...then you may feel regrets. If you want to try it, I say order it with a friend or two and ask for extra bowls. You'll enjoy the tasty flavour without going overboard.

Overall, Kenzo Ramen satisfies my noodle cravings. I have yet to find a bowl as tasty as what I had in Japan in Toronto, but this is the best so far! Great on winter nights (so comforting at 10PM when it's dark and cold), and they are opening a new location in the Annex mid-October!

Erin's Kenzo Ramen Ranking:
  1. The King of Kings - seaweed, tasty broth, pork, egg, and a generous serving
  2. Netsu Ramen - A bit spicy & full of meat and veggies. Not slices of pork though, which is my preference tied with Tonkatsu Ramen
  3. Miso Ramen - Misotare & soybean paste
  4. Sho-yu Ramen & Shi-o Ramen (both good basic ramens)
  5. Ji Su Men
I've also tried their takoyaki (baked octopus balls) and gyoza (dumplings). Both are decent, but nothing note-worthy in my opinion. Get 'em if you're curious but definitely don't skip out on the noodles!


Kenzo Ramen
Verdict:  Quick, tasty bowl of noodles
Meal: Lunch/Dinner
Price: $10 + tax & tip
Location: 138 Dundas St W


Kenzo Japanese Noodle House on Urbanspoon

10 comments:

Ringy said...

This will be great when the weather gets colder. But I'll admit that Nong Shim noodles are my vice too. We stopped buying them when we read the nutrition label but I still crave them regularly.

Erin said...

I should really stop buying them as well. I tell myself that I'm making it better by rinsing the noodles before adding the spices, but who am I kidding?
Sometimes I can't believe how much of this stuff I used to eat - when I was a kid, I'd sneak into the pantry and eat the noodles like one big CRACKER! In undergrad, sometimes 3 times a week.

My favourite one is the Shin noodle, oh my goodness. I like to boil it with just a little water, let it sit for a bit so the spices SOAK into the noodles. With a well-timed soft boiled eggs it's so good. slurrrp.

Chris (tinytines.com) said...

I left a comment this morning but for whatever reason, it's not showing up :[

But, man, I can't believe i've never been to this place. I walk by it all the time since I work like a block away. Please call me next time you're grabbing some ramen in the area. I'm pretty sure food tastes better with your presence.

Erin said...

Only a block away?! That means that you're also close to BIG FAT BURRITO!!!
My friend insists that Tokyo Grill is better - also in the area. We must grab a bowl! OF EACH! haha

Exploded Daniel said...

have you been to the ramen shop at jtown yet?
Kenzo is enough to make me happy, but I read so many of these ramen journals online that I wish we had that kind of hardcore specialty going on. Perhaps ramen needs to become a home-cooking thing.

Erin said...

I haven't been to jtown at all actually - I really want to go & try their ramen shop. I wish that we had that too - I fell in LOVE with ramen in Japan. Cheap tasty noodles, purchased from little ticket machines or just standing at a counter slurping up a bowl beside the subway.

I think that ramen would be a good home-cooking experiment, probably take awhile to perfect. My friend is trying to do hand-pulled noodles because we haven't found a good source in Toronto.

Erin said...

I haven't been to jtown at all actually - I really want to go & try their ramen shop. I wish that we had that too - I fell in LOVE with ramen in Japan. Cheap tasty noodles, purchased from little ticket machines or just standing at a counter slurping up a bowl beside the subway.

I think that ramen would be a good home-cooking experiment, probably take awhile to perfect. My friend is trying to do hand-pulled noodles because we haven't found a good source in Toronto.

Erin said...

Only a block away?! That means that you're also close to BIG FAT BURRITO!!!
My friend insists that Tokyo Grill is better - also in the area. We must grab a bowl! OF EACH! haha

Exploded Daniel said...

have you been to the ramen shop at jtown yet?
Kenzo is enough to make me happy, but I read so many of these ramen journals online that I wish we had that kind of hardcore specialty going on. Perhaps ramen needs to become a home-cooking thing.

bni niu said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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