I was kindly invited by Loopp Media to their food tasting event at The Ramenman in the West End. I was super excited because I LOVE ramen!
The restaurant is a small, modern hipsterish decor with one long wooden table and two small tables at the back for two seats each. We sat at the long table on metal stools. With space being limited, hooks are available under the table for your bags and coats. As soon as we walked in, we noticed the heat and humidity. And although the Edison incandescent lightbulbs looked great, it likely added to the heat. They seem to have an AC mounted to the back wall, but it didn’t seem to be on.
The menu is simple, with 4 selection of ramen to choose from. Their broth are based on chicken, rather than the usual pork. This was great, because I love chicken out of all meats, and I often end up ordering chicken ramen at other places anyways. The use of chicken as broth comes from Kansai (the western side of Japan like Osaka, Kyoto, etc), but they also have 100% vegetarian broth as well.
I also had a side order of Pork Scallop Gyoza $4.75 (4 pieces). They were authentic Japanese style, crispy flat on one side while the pleats side is softer. I have never had scallops in my gyoza, so that was a pleasant surprise of the mixture. It went really well with the pork and the sauce mix was really good. I had read several older reviews where people were wishing the place served gyoza, but now they’ve added to the menu! And it’s a good thing they did!
I haven’t had clams in my ramen before, so that was new. However, my friend told me of Chinese noodle soups that were similar to these, and he said it even tasted similar to them. The noodles were al dente, which unfortunately, I’m not a fan of. However the firmness wasn’t as hard as the other ramen places in town, so I didn’t notice it as much. The lightness of the soup was enjoyable. The thick but soft chunks of chicken were cold so I dipped them under the noodles to warm them up, and took off some of the fatty parts. However, it was super soft and wasn’t like chicken that I’ve ever had before. It also had some finely diced red onions for extra flavour.
My friend also ordered the Chicken x Clams but with pork pieces. The first thing you noticed was how pink the meat was. Unlike other chasu in ramen that are usually beige to brown, this was more like ham. This doesn’t mean that it’s not cooked! It’s a method called sous vide (from French meaning “under vacuum” where the food is sealed in airtight bags and then placed in a water bath or in a temperature-controlled steam environment. The result of cooking longer and at lower temperatures than usual cooking, is the meat being cooked evenly, while retaining moisture and flavour. With many people inquiring about the ‘raw’ meat, I suggest explaining it on the menu, and actually featuring it as one of their USP (Unique Selling Points). Sorry, my marketing brain is intruding here, lol,
For his side order, he had Karrage $4. I had a piece, and it was super hot and juicy inside, with a crispy, crunchy outer layer. The spicy sauce gave it a nice punch. The meat was marinated to perfection. Thumbs up!
Service was prompt and satisfactory. Would return!