I have finally gotten my partner into ramen. So when we spotted what we thought was a new ramen shop by where we live (the Burnaby Heights area), we immediately made plans to go. Although, it turns out that this has been a long standing location, with two years and a strong following.
The little shop is marked with bamboo curtains over the window and a single red glowing lantern. We came in at 5pm on a Sunday night and were the first ones in. We were quickly seated only to have the tables around us fill up right after with lone diners and four person families.
Inside, the dimly lit restaurant is narrow, so they cleverly utilize their space saving tables with matching stools that easily tuck underneath. Along the grey stucco walls are red and black hooks that look like the behind of dogs. You hang your coat and bags on their tails in order to create more space in between seats, with the ability to fit more patrons, more comfortably.
My only critique is with the mellow folk music they play overhead. It created a somber tone for the restaurant’s guests, an environment where you either ate in silence or spoke in whispers. Where the food and it’s flavours are more fun and you want to more jovial when embracing it.
Not only do they offer ramen, but their menu gives you a variety of Japanese comfort foods. Udon, rice bowls, agedashi tofu, gyoza, kimchi; and the possibility to have them as a combo with your ramen.
My partner had their “Tonkotsu ramen” with a regular pork based broth. It came with two slices of chashu, half a soft boiled egg, and as much bean sprouts as there were chewy yellow noodles. Lucky for me, he doesn’t actually like most of the toppings so my serving gets double of everything.
He made this meal a combo my adding a “mini chicken flame” rice bowl to it. Our food came out relatively quick, but that maybe because of the microwave that I heard. I suspect it was used to heat up this chicken dish as the meat was fairly tough and dry. The microwave opened and I heard the clanging of a dish against the spinning glass plate. And as soon as the ding of the bell went off, our food came out. The rice bowl was ok, it had a dull spice to match its flat, salty flavour; whereas I would have liked a bit more sweetness in the sticky sauce used.
For myself, I took our server’s recommend of their “Black ramen”. She declared it their most popular dish, the one that customers continue to come back for and say that they like. It too had a pork soup base, but to it they added roasting black garlic oil for extra flavour. And then I got it even more decadent with their rich broth option, instead of just regular, like above. In my bowl there were plenty of the following, but not enough noodle to pair with it all. Green onions, bean sprouts, tree ear mushrooms, half an egg, seaweed, and two slices of chashu pork. The serving was rich as promised, but not overwhelmingly so. You could still use the table side sauces to add heat or change the flavour mid way through.
I too made mine a combo my adding on their “bombs”. They are two round rice balls speckled with grilled seaweed and sesame seeds. I really liked their chewy texture and fragrant flavour. They were the perfect change of taste in between rich ramen bites. It the end I found this the most memorable dish of the meal and the one I would come back for.
Would I come back? – Yes.
Would I line up for it? – Yes.
Would I recommend it? – Yes.
Would I suggest this to someone visiting from out of town? – No.
A great option for great ramen in Burnaby. I will be back to try their other flavours and maybe more of their combos. Just be warned they are a debit and cash only establishment. Don’t deny your cravings.