When you’re in an area where you can order sushi on just about every corner, you know it immediately when you walk into a real Japanese restaurant! These restaurateurs are always surprising us with their food, and despite what some would have you believe, they can go head to head with high-end French cuisine any day!
As we know, the land of the rising sun has a tendency to perfect everything it touches.
For the first part of our series on the best Japanese restaurants in Shaughnessy Village, we’re putting the spotlight on authentic ramen from Kinton Ramen!
TAKING TRADITION TO HEART
Before diving into our bowls, let us shed some light on this popular and well-respected tradition! The basic facts: the Japanese Archipelago has nearly 8,000 institutions specializing in ramen, with over 4,000 in Tokyo alone. While the dish originated in China, the Japanese made it big. Yet for a long time the word “ramen” brought to mind an image of a small package of noodles and students cooking in their dorms.
So what is true ramen? As is often the case in the kitchen, time and a good broth are the base, and when we talk about boiling broth we mean cooking it for at least six hours, if not overnight. A good cook will use all of the meat: bone, muscle, fat, anything that will bring taste to the broth. Added to this is a variety of condiments that every chef knows. The subtleties will depend on whether you choose chicken, pork, fish or soy. Each region of Japan is very proud of their slightly different take on ramen.
North America is opening up more and more restaurants offering traditional quality Japanese food, made by professionals trained in Japan. In keeping with this tradition, and with his experience in Toronto and Vancouver, Chef Nobuaki Irata opened the Kinton Ramen restaurant in Shaughnessy a few months ago.
You personalize your Ramen here! First you choose your broth made from chicken or pork. From there, four recipes are available: the Original, Shoyu, Miso or “Spicy”. The four recipes have a common ramen base such as bean sprouts and green onions or nori (seaweed that is found in some sushi). The addition of sea salt, pasta or soy sauce builds the soup’s personality! The chicken broth has chicken and likewise with the pork broth.
Last step, choose whether you want thin or thick noodles!
Nothing left to do but let the chef make your ramen!
Roy, captain of the ship, invites us to taste the famous Shoyu, served with beautiful and delicious braised ribs. The flavors are all delightfully arranged in our bowl; between the sprouted soybeans and green onions, the noodles are just firm enough. The broth has a beautiful silky texture, a true sign of quality. It’s comforting and delicious, a real treat!
Note that the restaurant offers two 100% vegetarian ramen options, one with fried tofu and the other served as a salad with sesame dressing.
A MENU MADE FOR FOOD-LOVERS
While a bowl of ramen will be enough for most, Kinton offers a bigger version, tripling the portion of meat! We advise fans of gargantuan dinners to monitor their Facebook page to find out when their next “mega ramen” evening is coming. The challenge is to eat a bowl defying all reason in fifteen minutes or less.
Finally, the most delicate palates may also be tempted by the dozen hot and cold appetizers offered; delicious edamame beans, fried octopus meatballs with tonkatsu sauce and mayonnaise, minced pork served with rice and homemade sauce or the popular pork dumplings!
While it is tempting to keep your nose in your bowl, it’s difficult not to be taken by the restaurant’s atmosphere. The location and modern composition of several types of wood with clean lines, offers an authentic Japanese atmosphere! The team will also be happy to welcome you in their native language!
In the second part of our series on the best Japanese restaurants in Shaughnessy Village, we will explore Kinka Izakaya, located just steps from here!
1211 Bishop Street
Montréal H3G 2E2
Photo credits: Frédéric Ryan – Instagram (@feddomtl)