*Restaurant is now closed*
It's not often I bring the whole family into Downtown for some eats. After all, parking is challenging and I'm not sure my kids would necessarily be impressed with scantily-clad hostesses and loud dance music. Well, I might be impressed; but Viv would probably slash me with her Easton. With that type of establishment not being an option and still needing to go Downtown. I had to pay a visit to Urban Fare today since I was picking up items for part 2 of my Indishpensable challenge. I had to recreate the dish they had supplied to me a week earlier. This required me to buy some specialty items not usually found at places such as Superstore or Safeway. Where should I eat??? Well, my kids do like noodles and I like noodles... Alright, with Kintaro Ramen closed on Mondays, we went to the next best thing nearby - Benkei Ramen. No scantily-clad hostesses or loud dance music here! Only the sweet sound of slurping noodles and ambient conversational noise. Good thing for us, we only waited for about 5 minutes for our table. I'm not completely convinced that this is a truly kid-friendly restaurant since it is small and the seating arrangements are challenging for a family. Whatever the case, there were other kids here and it was well-lit. Some of the places in Downtown are so dark, you can barely see the food, let alone catching your kids chuck sugar packets all over the place.
Unlike Kintaro, there are many different soup choices at Benkei. Viv was quite pleased since she wasn't as enthusiastic about Kintaro as I was. She opted for the Akaoni Ramen which looked intimidatingly hot with its red-orange tinge. One taste and it was really not all that spicy. It did have a nice kick to it though. Viv was a bit annoyed at the ground meat because the only way she could eat all of it was to drink all of the soup. I decided on the Shio Ramen which most closely resembled Kintaro for comparison purposes and also I happen to like rich tonkotsu broth. I added "all the toppings" for an extra $3.50. In addition to the sprouts, pork and bamboo shoots, it added spinach, kimchi, nori, corn, boiled egg and butter. I noticed right away that the portion size here is smaller than that of Kintaro. Secondly, the broth was not nearly as rich either. Not necessarily a bad thing, especially for those people who want something a bit lighter. With that being said, the noodles were a good balance of being soft and not overcooked. I wish the pork (or Chashu) was a bit more fatty; but I guess I can do that at Kintaro. Otherwise, an enjoyable bowl of ramen nonetheless.
The Shoyu ramen was essentially the same as the Shio, except with a light soy broth. We got some gyoza on the side and they were cooked up nicely and were not too heavy. Although I personally like Kintaro more, Benkei is a solid place to get ramen. Furthermore, it offers up more choice of broth and isn't as heavy.
- Choice of different types of broth
- Good ramen, in terms of the noodles and the ingredients
- Reasonably priced
- If you had to compare, the portion size here doesn't compare to Kintaro
- Not the most comfortable place to sit