Another ramen joint? On Robson no less? Alright, I know this is getting a bit repetitive and honestly, how many ramen restaurants do we need anyways? Apparently as many as Vancouver can support... The newest kid on the block is Ramen Jinya. They hail all the way from L.A. and boast to be one of the top-10 things to eat in 2010. Now with anything that brings that form of hype to the table, there are some lofty expectations. After all, we do have good ramen nearby in the form of Santouka, Kintaro and Motomochi. Some other decent spots include Benkei, Menya and Sanpachi.
Located in the former Ezogiku, the hope is that Jinya will do ramen justice since the previous place did not. The source of this food adventure was thanks to Vandelay who scouted out the place earlier (since he works nearby). So it was only natural to meet up with him for some hot soup noodles on a warm summer day. Once we sat down, Vandelay was all ready to order. Was he hungry? Well yes and no. Actually he was anxious to get one of the 20 bowls of the Fatty Tonkotsu Ramen. There are only a limited amount of this one per day. When it arrived, it looked like a cross between Kintaro and Santouka. The creamy rich broth had elements which came near to Santouka; yet fell a bit short. It was silky and gelatinous with fatty bits reminiscent of Kintaro. Again, it was not as fatty as Kintaro. One thing we did appreciate was that the broth was not as salty such as Sanpachi (probably a little less or no MSG). The fatty chashu was not worthy of chopsticks. It was so soft, it could barely be classified as meat. Might as well call it the the thing formerly known as pork. Very good, very fatty and tasty. As for the noodles, they were al dente while not seeming substantial. Too thin? Loved the spinach, it added colour and some form of nutrition to the bowl of fatty goodness. Same for the fried shallots - good flavour and texture.
For myself, I got the regular Tonkotsu Ramen and the broth was noticeably less cloudy which would indicate less fat. It was still silky and pretty rich. Despite this, I'd still stick with Santouka. Viv went for the Miso Ramen and there was no denying the miso flavour. Once again, it was rich and silky (or was that fatty?). Whatever the case, it was good. Yet again, Viv repeated the what we all thought, Santouka is better. One item didn't need any debate though. The Chashu Don was not very good. We found the pork to be chewy and dry while there wasn't anything flavouring the rice other than the dry pork. The rice was chewy and prepared properly, too bad it was not accented. Rice aside, the ramen was more than respectable. Possibly the portion size was a bit small for the premium prices (around $10.00) and they might want to consider doing an Ajitama egg rather than the hard-boiled variety. Good ramen, it's not Santouka good though.
- Broth has depth, is silky and not overly salty
- Service is efficient and friendly
- Price-to-portion ratio a bit off
- Limited choices