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Attention Toronto Ramen Seekers

Delish Dec 6, 2007 05:17 AM

Good news! There's a new Ramen place in Koreatown. It's called iNoodle @ 623 Bloor St (a block or two west of Bathurst).

We were trying to decided where to eat last night en route to Bloor Cinema, and fortunatlely my husband remembered this place that caught my eye a few times before it opened. Such a good choice!

Now - I've only had the ramen from Double Happiness once before they closed, and once from Konichiwa on Baldwin, so I'm no ramen expert, but to me, this was far better than either of those.

The menu lists 8 varieties of ramen, Yaki Soba, Tonkatsu Don, Unagi Don (which I plan to try next time around), Galbi, Gyoja (gyoza?), yakitori and a few other things.

We got 2 combos - one with Shio Ramen and Tonkatsu, and the other with Shoyu Ramen and Gyoja ($9.50/$8.75). Goodness gracious was that fried pork fantastic. So were the gyoja - delicate wrapping, flavourful filling. And the ramen? Yum. I think I prefered the Shoyu broth to the Shio, but the differences are subtle. Both came medium spiced (which was spicy by our statnadards and we like out heat) chock full of firm, silky, slurp-worthy noodley goodness.

Pleasant atmosphere, seems to be run by a Japanese family. A window into the kitchen adds to the experience.

I'm excited to go back.

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  1. hotsauce28 RE: Delish Dec 6, 2007 07:43 AM

    good to know!
    another great place to eat on a cold winter night. =D

    1. b
      berbere RE: Delish Dec 6, 2007 09:02 AM

      is this the new place on the north side of bloor - the sign says "organic noodles"?

      2 Replies
      1. re: berbere
        Delish RE: berbere Dec 6, 2007 11:44 AM

        I haven't noticed the place on the norh side of Bloor! This one is on the south side of Bloor. Looks like I have somewhere else to scope out...

        1. re: Delish
          berbere RE: Delish Dec 6, 2007 06:12 PM

          the place I was talking about is just about a block or two east of christie on the north side of bloor - i drove by a few weeks ago and noticed the sign - the korean sign doesnt exactly translate into "organic" ...can't recall now but i got the impression it was a jjajangmyun place (noodles in black bean sauce). please report back if you go (and i will do the same of course) ;-)

      2. p
        Pincus RE: Delish Dec 6, 2007 10:23 AM

        Thanks, this saves me the trip to Yonge & Steeles!

        3 Replies
        1. re: Pincus
          pinstripeprincess RE: Pincus Dec 6, 2007 10:30 AM

          i'll hopefully make it out there during the holidays, but word from the street so far from a hound who did a ramen tour way back when is that it's actually better than kenzo. i'm reserving thoughts until i get my hands on some tonkotsu!

          1. re: Pincus
            hotsauce28 RE: Pincus Dec 6, 2007 11:35 AM

            How is the one at Yonge and Steeles?? I'm by it all the time but haven't gone in. There's too many other places to try in that area!

            1. re: hotsauce28
              Pincus RE: hotsauce28 Dec 7, 2007 07:42 AM

              I liked it, but I'm also not a ramen expert. Service was friendly.

          2. Laura Vingada RE: Delish Dec 6, 2007 05:14 PM

            I've always wanted to try one of the Korean restaurants along Bloor. I'm going to try this place next!

            1. l
              lsk RE: Delish Dec 6, 2007 06:24 PM

              I pray that it really is that good. Kenzo is the closest ramen seekers have to authentic ramen, but if this is better, I'm all for it.

              I'm definitely going to try this place out! Thanks for the tip.

              2 Replies
              1. re: lsk
                EarlyDrive RE: lsk Dec 19, 2007 04:29 AM

                I agree with Delish that the ramen at INoodle (south side of bloor, a couple blocks west of bathurst) is very very good. I've had both the shio ramen and the shoyu ramen, as well as the tonkatsu (on the side, not as part of the ramen). This is our new favourite spot.

                1. re: EarlyDrive
                  cutehinano RE: EarlyDrive Dec 19, 2007 07:13 PM

                  I agree that inoodle is great. We tried it for the first time on the weekend and it was perfect for a cold day. I had misa ramen with tonkatsu - it was way too much food but very good.

              2. p
                Pincus RE: Delish Dec 21, 2007 08:46 AM

                Tried iNoodle. Very nice tonkatsu (sp?) ramen, rich broth, tender pork, great noodles. Got medium spicy (they offer three levels, according to the menu) and it was perfect. Nice heat without overpowering the dish. Perfect for damp, cold weather and at $11 with tip it is a great deal. Great service too, in that my tea cup was never left empty.

                1 Reply
                1. re: Pincus
                  phylao RE: Pincus Jan 15, 2008 04:29 AM

                  TonkOtsu = pork bone soup

                  TonkAtsu = deep fried pork cutlet

                  i tried the shio ramen and i like it. It is not worse than Kenzo ramen which i think is one of the best in Toronto. The gyoza was big and full of ingredients as well. I definitely will return.

                2. 50firstdatesguy RE: Delish Jan 16, 2008 05:34 AM

                  I went to iNoodle last night and actually it was pretty darned good! I had the tonkatsu combo with the shio ramen, 'medium' spicy, some goyza and maki. One minor thing: there were but 3 small pieces of pork in my ramen and I could have used more noodles. Pork is a pretty cheap kind of meat; having 4 or 5 fat slices piled on top and some more noodles would have really made it a much better meal for the price point and closer to the hearty meal authentic ramen should be, but hey I can appreciate a place trying to keep costs down. The broth was decent, it didn't knock my socks off but it went down nicely.

                  What really impressed me was the tonkatsu and the gyoza. Finally, a place that does gyoza decently. They were tender, fried on one side to a nice crisp and moist. Not all dried out and deep-fried like (surprisingly) some of the Japanese restos are doing.

                  The tonkatsu was also very flavourful, not overcooked and dry, and the sauce was excellent, a nice combination which instantly reminded me of all the Tokyo restos with the wax tonkatsu and cabbage dishes displayed in the windows.

                  Maki was decent, I got it because I was just curious and it didn't disappoint.

                  So if you're looking for some decent Japanese style ramen with a Korean twist, tonkatsu cutlet, and good Japanese sides like gyoza, iNoodle makes a good stopover in the Bloor/Bathurst area.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: 50firstdatesguy
                    Delish RE: 50firstdatesguy Jan 16, 2008 09:20 AM

                    I went back the other night and ordered the tonkotsu ramen. It is the best of them, in my opinion. I probably mentioned about 3 or 4 times to my husband that this is my favourite. The only way I can describe it is silky - silky broth, silky noodles.... So, so good. Full of body and flavour. I found the portion of the meat and noodles to be ample and filling. To each his/her own, I suppose!

                    I've also had the unagi don since my first posting. It, too, was 100% delicious.

                    This is quickly becoming one of may favourite neighbourhood joints.

                  2. pinstripeprincess RE: Delish Jan 16, 2008 09:50 AM

                    i was there a couple weeks back and i hate to say this, but how i miss double happiness.

                    our meals ended up being about $8-12 pre tax which can't compare to the $5 deals that dh used to have... but anyway.

                    things seemed to be more of a korean take on japanese. the medium spicy was ridiculously spicy and often overwhelmed the depth of flavour in the broth. i think i actually broke out into a bit of a sweat.

                    the tonkotsu was a pretty nice broth but most of it was masked with heat. i found the meat accompanying it sparse, tough and dry save for the soup. there is some doubt in my mind that the noodles may be handmade. they resembled very much the "fresh" noodles you can get at several chinese grocers. the gigantic stuck together clump of noodles at the bottom of my bowl wasn't appreciated. i did enjoy their nice elasticity though.

                    the tonkatsu was cooked fine but the sauce on top was a bit revolting. is this actually typical? the sauces i've had before just seemed better for a reason i cannot describe as yet.

                    overall it was ok. i'm not rushing to go back but i might drop in from time to time. oh and shio has nothing on a good tonkotsu.

                    8 Replies
                    1. re: pinstripeprincess
                      skylineR33 RE: pinstripeprincess Jan 16, 2008 10:05 AM

                      I don't quite get it. The sauce of tonkatsu is pretty standard in Toronto, a thick brown color sauce which taste a bit sour. Do they give you another kind of sauce ?

                      1. re: skylineR33
                        pinstripeprincess RE: skylineR33 Jan 16, 2008 10:19 AM

                        tonkatsu isn't a go to dish for me and that's why i asked if it was typical. i think it was the sourness that i found revolting. it just seemed like a poor match with the pork. most other times i've had tonkatsu-don which seems to have a sweeter sauce or perhaps just less of it.

                        1. re: pinstripeprincess
                          skylineR33 RE: pinstripeprincess Jan 16, 2008 10:38 AM

                          I see. The sauce used in Tonkatsu is different from the one in Katsudon (deep fried pork with egg rice bowl). The sauce for Tonkatsu is the brown color thick sour sauce, it is typical.

                          1. re: skylineR33
                            50firstdatesguy RE: skylineR33 Jan 16, 2008 12:36 PM

                            Yes, as skylineR33 aptly points out tonkatsu sauce is simply that, tonkatsu sauce, it comes in a bottle. It's not made from scratch so you'll probably encounter something similar wherever you eat pork tonkatsu. It is a bit sharp and perhaps sour, kind of like HP sauce. I find it does go well with the pork although that may be because I eat tonkatsu a fair bit at home. This photo is the bulldog brand which is a pretty common brand.

                            I found the med. spicy setting to be manageable but I'm one of those people with a higher than normal tolerance so don't listen to me. Beside-the-train-station ramen isn't supposed to be spicy at all though, its normally just alot of pork, noodles and broth, maybe some green onions, def. a Korean influence there.

                            I was plesantly surprised that they served tsukemono though.

                            Incidentally skylineR33, do you know of a joint in Toronto that does an authentic, cheap, Japanese style chicken katsudon or perhaps even oyako donburi?

                            1. re: 50firstdatesguy
                              jayseeca RE: 50firstdatesguy Jan 16, 2008 02:55 PM

                              i was actually underwhelmed by this place too... i went with too high of a spice level, so i couldn't taste the tonkotsu broth either - so, hard to judge. tried the shio which seemed relatively standard.
                              thought the fried pork was good, but i've had much better before, but then again, probably for a higher price. also didn't like the sauce on the pork. i've had a more enjoyable, and i guess... a less abrasive and cheap tasting sauce.
                              this place is pretty average, but i guess now one of the better places to get ramen.

                              1. re: 50firstdatesguy
                                skylineR33 RE: 50firstdatesguy Jan 16, 2008 03:06 PM

                                Miyabi in Richmond Hill and Cafe Michi in Scarborough both provide different kinds of authentic donburi with good quality. Maybe you can give it a try. Both are Japanese owned.

                                1. re: skylineR33
                                  50firstdatesguy RE: skylineR33 Jan 16, 2008 07:11 PM

                                  thanks skyline, Cafe Michi sounds perfect for me as I work in Scarborough I will definitley have to check it out! Oyako donburi is one of my favourite Japanese dishes of all time, simple and filling and lots of protein :D

                        2. re: pinstripeprincess
                          Delish RE: pinstripeprincess Jan 16, 2008 02:21 PM

                          I agree about the medium being too spicy. That's why this last time I got mild. I could really, really taste the richness of the broth.

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