Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Benkei Ramen (Robson)

At long last, there be a decent bowl of ramen outside of Japan! There was a lot of hype when Kintaro Ramen opened on Denman Street in Downtown Vancouver. There were line ups out the door practically every single day. The atmosphere was great - it was a small shop, noisy, not particularly clean, and steamed up windows. I gave Kintaro a try and was severely disappointed. Soft, overcooked noodles, flavourless broth, and chashu that was lean enough to pass as leather. When Benkei opened up, I didn't have my hopes up, but I gave it a shot. I was pleasantly surprised. They could actually put together a half-decent bowl of ramen, despite the gawdy interior decorations (walls are covered with made-in-China katana)
The chashu was nice and thick, and very, very fat, just the way I like it.

And the broth was nice and fat, and nice and salty - which should have you screaming for a cup of water or racing to the bathroom with a bad case of geri. But that's how good ramen should affect your internal organs. At the end of the whole adventure, I even picked up the bowl with both hands and slurped back all of the fattening, but oh so good.
The one problem with Benkei is that it's not consistent. Sometimes I will get an incredibly awesome bowl of ramen, and other times (and often times), I'll get the wrong order, or there's something missing, or the chashu is completely non-existent and diced into tiny little cubes.
Well, this'll do until I go back to Japan.

Benkei Ramen (Robson) on Urbanspoon

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