The search for the perfect bowl of ramen ourside of Japan continues, but I'd have to say that G-men ramen has it pretty good. The current popular choice for ramen still seems to be Kintaro Ramen, but for me, Kintaro is an epic fail when it comes to ramen. Sure, the atmosphere is spot on - small, noisy, and steamed up windows, but the ramen is crap. For me, the broth has always been too bland, and the chashu is way, way to lean. And on top of that, every jackass who needs to show the world how trendy they are by going to an "authentic Japanese ramen shop", is lined up out the door of this place, only to be served sub-par ramen.
When go for ramen, it has to be fat and salty. When Kintaro opened shop in Richmond, it just added to it's failure as a ramen shop. Amazingly, the broth was tasty, but the noodles were overcooked and tasted worse than instant noodles. Subsequently, they closed.
Aji-Sen Ramen opened a few years ago in Parker Place and to be honest, it wasn't too bad, but their standards started to slide and it felt more like a really bad rendition of Hon's meets Ramen.
Next, Benkei Ramen on Robson opened, and also had some pretty damn good ramen in the beginning, but they are quite inconsistent. It's hit and miss with Benkei Ramen - sometimes the chashu is glorious, other times, they're just chopped up little bits that belong more in pork 'n beans than a decent bowl of ramen. And despite the sometimes-good ramen, I can't get past the aweful made-in-China swords hanging all over the place....this is just tacky. I still have to do a review on Menya Ramen, which is pretty damn awesome, but I'll have to leave that for another post.....no pics yet!Nice, steamed up windows - very authentic.
Other strange decorations - also adds to the atmosphere.
A TV placing really, really old-school early 80's Japanese TV shows. This place really has the right feel. It's hard to describe, but for those of you who come from Japan, or have lived there before, you'll know what I'm talking about. This place has got that quirky, almost eccentric Japanese flavor of interior decoration that's very typical for a small eatery.
Miso/Chashu Ramen - my favourite. This ramen will always have you screaming for water afterwards, and if you're lucky, give you a bad case of "geri" - and it's just the way I like it. Some people have complained that the noodles taste like Nissin frozen ramen, but is that really a bad thing? Because I swear by Nissin frozen ramen. It was arguably the best ramen noodle available outside of Japan - even better than Kintaro....can you tell I'm not a big fan of Kintaro?
The gyoza here is pretty much run of the mill gyoza, nothing spectacular, but worth ordering. My take on this place is it's a definte hit. I go there all the time and I strongly recommend it to anyone else.....that is if you have the patience to navigate through that God-forsaken parking lot.