Tuesday, October 20, 2009 2

Kenzo (@ North York location) - one of the better ramen places in Toronto

By kat in ,

If you ever regularly browse CH, you'll find many of the "pro eaters" as I call them, complain about 3 East-Asian foods that Toronto still lacks: good wonton noodles, good ramen and good soba.

There's a general consensus that Kenzo is one of very few places in Toronto that serves a "somewhat decent" ramen, according to their standards (which are set by authentic ramen restaurants and stalls in Japan). I, on the other hand, find their ramen quite satisfying, especially on a cold night. My standards haven't risen that high yet :)

They have a special menu, which consists of combos with basic ramen + meat skewers/tonkatsu (fried pork cutlet)/beef ribs/gyoza (fried dumplings) etc. There's also their original menu of ramen with different soup bases and toppings available. On the individual posters, there's gyoza, takoyaki ($7.95 for 6! Expensive!), and even okonomiyaki!

It was a chilly Friday night, and I've just finished 2 midterms in one day. So I treated myself to a tonkotsu ramen. Tonkotsu means "pork bone", so the soup is made from pork bones boiled for hours (I heard they boil theirs for 20 hours). Unlike the Korean dish pork bone soup/gam ja tang, there's no giant pieces of spicy pork. The soup base is cloudy white and very very tasty. For toppings, there was a naruto, small bok choi, some ginger strips, corn and half an egg. I heard the authentic way of making the egg for a ramen is half-raw, half-cooked. So it's just right when it goes onto your steaming hot bowl of ramen.

I like the ramen here. It's not chewy, but it's not really soft either. And it doesn't taste anything like the packaged ramen found in supermarkets. I usually never order ramen at restaurants because I have this fear that it's made from instant ramen. It's a pretty big fear.

Slices of pork/cha siu 叉燒: half-fat and half-lean are the best ones. Seriously. Worth the fat. And this is coming from someone that doesn't usually even eat peanut butter because it's too fattening.

JT's King of Kings ramen. It's bigger than the tonkotsu ramen, with seemingly more toppings (bean sprouts, seaweed, bamboo shoots etc.) and it comes in 3 levels of spiciness: 0 regular, 1 mild and 2 very spicy. Notice there's a gap between 1 and 2: there's mild, and there's very spicy. Last time he ordered King of Kings ramen, "spicy please", it was extremely spicy. He said each bite he took, it hurt to eat.

We also received a small side dish of pickled radish. Hmm.. never got this at the downtown one.

We finished them off, but we were both very full. I wanted to drink more of the soup but my body told me no. xD

I've been to both North York location (original) and their recently-opened downtown location at Bay St. & Dundas St. They're both pretty small but I like this small, cozy atmosphere. And I concur with everyone that's been to both: the North York one does taste better. More expensive, $9.95 vs. the $8.95 for Tonkotsu ramen, but the toppings and pork selections are much better. For instance, I had 3.5 giant slices of half-fat, half-skinny tonkotsu last night. Ordering the same ramen, 阿哥 had 2 small slices of lean tonkotsu at the downtown location.

If you are unsatisfied with Ajisen Ramen like I am or is trying to suppress a ramen craving, try out this place! :) I'll be back to try their okonomiyaki for sure. And I've also heard good things about their gyoza.

Kenzo, Japanese Noodle (click for their website and menu or to even file a complaint/suggestion)
2 locations (they used to have one at Peach Tree plaza that was a lot worse for some reason and it closed down)
6180 Yonge St, Toronto, ON
(416) 229-4526

138 Dundas St. W, Toronto, ON M5G 1C3 - at Bay St. & Dundas St.
(416) 205-1155

Opened: 11AM - 10PM everyday

PS. I find it a bit funny that Kenzo, which serves the closest thing Toronto has to Japanese ramen, is owned by a Korean couple. Which is probably why they serve rice tea. Mmm.
PPS. Upon David's request, I'll start taking pictures of the store front. Hopefully I won't seem too dork-ish

Kenzo Japanese Noodle House on Urbanspoon

2 Responses to “Kenzo (@ North York location) - one of the better ramen places in Toronto”

  1. jon says:

    hahaha yea, taking pictures of the store front feels a little embarrassing sometimes

  2. kat says:

    haha oh well.. the things we do for our readers :P

    thanks for your comment! i really like your blog site~ :D

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