Okay, what's the deal with ramen these days anyways? It seems a new one opens up every month. I'm not complaining! I like ramen. I even liked instant Nissan ramen and ate it quite often as a child. I have barely eaten much of it anymore ever since they put the nutritional facts on the package. The eye-popping cholesterol and saturated fat numbers scare the living daylights out of me! With those numbers, I might as well just grab some bacon and stuff it in my mouth. Yes, instant ramen is not very healthy and contain a plethora of chemicals. Hmm... This probably explains how I turned out... I digress. I know, I know, instant ramen and fresh ramen are not even comparable.
Alright, I finally made it over to Menya after many attempts, including a Sunday (they are closed). I was able to convince Pomegranate to join me despite the fact both of us had already ate dinner. Thank goodness the portions are not very large. We just treated it as a "snack" or a "second dinner" if we were Merry and Pippin. We were seated next to a couple where one person was doing a demonstration of their iPhone. Seeing this, Pomegranate started to do the same with his. Wow, it can be a phone and a leveler at the same time! I'm sold!
Seeing that I could add Gyozas and a Takikomi Rice Ball for an extra $3.40, I did the expected... A bit small, fluffy and served hot, the gyozas were pretty good. As for my Nagahama Ramen (pork bone soup), it was honestly quite small. I wasn't that hungry this time, so it was not an issue. But I can see how this would not be enough for me (at least) if it were an actual meal. Small is one thing; but in terms of overall execution, I thought it was a success. The noodles were al dente with the "bite" and chewiness we expect with a perfectly cooked ramen. Unlike what others have lamented, I did not find the tonkotsu broth salty at all. It had depth and a silky richness only reserved for slow cooked broth over a long period of time. I could taste and feel the bone marrow that had dissolved into the soup. The fatty cha shu was moist, soft and melted in my mouth.
Pomegranate opted for the Shoyu Ramen. Although there is supposed to be dashi in the shoyu broth, Pomegranate thought it was a bit fishy. For me personally, I would welcome more bonito flavour; but I guess it's a personal preference. The rice ball (consisting of kelp, carrots, tofu skin and soy) was nice texturally being a tad chewy; but personally, I thought it was bland. Compared to Kintaro or even Benkei, the portions at Menya are quite small. However, I did like the noodles and the broth was rich and flavourful. Service is basic while being very polite. Despite the portion size, I'd gladly return for another bowl of ramen.
- Rich, velvety tonkotsu broth
- Perfectly cooked noodles
- Polite service
- Portion size is small
- Not the most comfortable place to sit (you wouldn't linger anyways)