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Report: Ramen-ya

  • d

Yes ramen! It is a small and sleek place, but the Japanese noodles are front and centre at Ramen-ya. In addition to the (requisite) sushi bar, they have tasty bowls of noodle soup with a choice of shoyu, miso, or curry broth. And shakers of dried onion and spice to put on top! I licked my lips through a hearty bowl (topped with tonkatsu) and left very satisfied - it was full of flavour, had nice textures, and it was real ramen in Montreal. After year-old posts turned up few answers, now you can eat ramen at 4274 St-Laurent, just above Rachel.
P.S. They have mochi and ice cream for dessert.

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  1. wow this is great news. will try it tonight. also looking forward to the mochi!!

      1. re: celfie

        I was there today early afternoon. The real Ramen noodles soup were going in the $8-$8.50 range from my memory(might start around $7). Had to try their ramen noodles soup with slices of panko breaded pork(I was already pretty full, from eating brunch just before). It was pretty good, but I have never tasted authentic ramen before to compare. There's also ramen soup with grilled chicken(& 2-3 more ramen soup options).

        1. re: mainsqueeze

          Sweet mochi for dessert. Black sesame, red bean, and green tea if I remember the flavours correctly.

          By the way, they mentioned that they are closed Sundays.

          1. re: Daiya

            yeah me and the boys were excited to try it sunday evening and it was closed despite it saying SUNDAY on the door. quite a disappointment!

        2. I haven't eaten there yet, though my japanese girlfriend and I popped our heads in when we saw it (oh man where we stoked when we saw the "ramen-ya" sign!).

          I spend about 3 months a year in Japan for the last few years, and my gf is a foodie so, not to sound like some windbag... we know ramen to some reasonable extent. Also I'm not an "authenticity nut" either; I'm quite reasonable. But here are some facts:

          1- The people who run that place just ain't japanese. Not the end of the world, but it makes for some hilarity... read on...

          2- Curry ramen broth is a very interesting innovation! We've never seen that one before!

          3- TonkAtsu ramen is something you can sometimes find in specialty shops, but is definitely not "a standard." The menu developer, not knowing japanese, may have gotten confused with tonkOtsu ramen, which is a thick fatty pork broth, common in Kyushu.

          4- chicken and vegetable ramen... commendable ideas, but also something a japanese customer would raise their eyebrows to and say "nani? honto? iiine!" (not negative... just.. surprised ;)

          5-"Crispy Pancake"? C'mon. Vietnam maybe...

          6- ramen shops don't sell sushi. Sure the local market prolly expects it, but that's a lame excuse: if you're gonna be a ramen shop, be a ramen shop! haha :)

          7- "Sasuki", the name of their maki-sushi assortment platter, is a made-up name. No such japanese word. Maybe they meant "Sasuke".. which is the name of a character in Naruto (a popular anime), or the game show... or a popular name for ninja-characters... ;)

          Judging from the menu, our guess is the owners are vietnamese. Think pho-joint, japan/ramen/montreal-ified.

          In fact the *only* things on Ramen-ya's menu in all but the most way-out ramen shops in Japan are: a plate of gyoza and a chashumen (shoyu flavor broth).

          So that said, I'm sure it's all very tasty and I look forward to trying it out (and probably being a repeat customer if it isn't bad tasting).

          There is a very good reason why it's so hard to find good ramen, like alot of other japanese things, outside of japan: it's an art form that few people are willing to really learn. The right noodle for the right broth type, the right mix of toppings, etc etc... Some enterprising foreigners who want to capitalize on a hole in the market can't and won't make the effort. (Even though they charge $8 for a bowl of something that most likely is not at all very different from what their cousins sell as Pho (Tonkinoise) around the corner for $6... )

          where's the green onion option? the softboiled egg? the extra pork? the slice of white and pink swirl fishcake? and perhaps most importantly... the ticket vending machine! hahaha :)

          Just saying! :)
          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ramen#Soup
          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ramen#Re...

          Enjoy!

          15 Replies
          1. re: bopuc

            We tried it last night. I can't speak for it's authenticity but to be honest I don't really care. It was mighty tasty, the staff are friendly, and I enjoyed myself.

            It's not like Pho at all.

                1. re: bomobob

                  Not in the second sentence, it ain't. :)

              1. re: mainsqueeze

                I am very glad to hear this. To be clear, I wasn't trying to slander or put em down, just pointing out the things we noticed that were telltale signs of "this is not japanese"... not that it matters, but you should know. :)

                I'm looking forward to going. Chashumen is a big fav. :)

                1. re: bopuc

                  A little correction here.

                  >2- Curry ramen broth is a very interesting innovation! We've never seen that one >before!

                  Actually many ramenyas in Hokkaido are reported to make this dish, so I think you are giving too much credit to this shop for "innovating" it.

                  And in fact the link you had provided says the exact same thing, stating Hokkaido type ramen getting mainstream in the recent years.

                  Regardless of that, as a clueless gaijin, I really enjoyed the food

                  and yeah, it was nothing like pho.

                  1. re: emerilcantcook

                    glad you liked it. ramen is treat. this one too.
                    to clarify:
                    yeah i misspoke about the curry thing. the GF said it's findable but not very common, at least not in Tokyo (and she is from Aomori which up north, near Hokkaido)

                    I never said it's like pho: I said that if these folks aren't japanese (which they aren't), there is a risk the product will be more of an adaption of their style of soup-meal rather than a "real" ramen. :)

                    anyways. i'm sure everyone's tired of me flogging this! haha :)

                    enjoy. I'll certainly go back every now and then :)

                  2. re: bopuc

                    So just for consistencies' sake, cause someone else asked...
                    We finally made it there and ordered the chashumen, shoyu flavored broth. it was very tasty, but not quite right. here's my take:

                    ----

                    it's tricky. the "issues" are on several levels, and none of them are "wrong" or "bad" per se... little things that make a japanese person go "hmmm?" (at least the japanese person who was with me ;)

                    again, it *was* very tasty. the broth and its flavoring were good, the noodles' taste and texture were good, the pork was juicy and tender. BUT.

                    NB: broth + flavoring = soup in this case

                    the soup was too cloudy for a shoyu flavored ramen. ramen stock is clear. miso and other flavors may cloud it, but adding soy sauce to clear stock does not make it cloudy. so the (nonetheless yummy pork bone) stock was not properly prepared.

                    the noodles, while chewy and tasty, were the wrong sort for this kind of soup. Too thick and straight, they are meant for a thicker soup, like the miso flavored one, which was on offer. For a clear, thin soup, you need a thinner and more crinkly noodle.

                    there were bean sprouts added. Again, for a thick ramen soup that is fine, but not a thin one. Also, the sprouts were dropped in raw. Normally they'd be flash boiled first. (nitpick!)

                    the pork was very tasty, but tasted like chinese BBQ pork. It was interesting and yummy, but not japanese style.

                    Wakame is at home in miso, but a bit funny in ramen. Not unauthentic per se, but sorta weird. Notice the lack of a sheet of nori...

                    chopped "judas ear" or "wood ear" mushrooms are a basic topping for tonkotsu (another thing on the menu, though it is confused with tonkAtsu), but not on chashumen. Notice they seem to replace the pickled bamboo...

                    the ingredients were sort of thrown together in the bowl, not carefully layered. There ended up being quite a bit of pork in this soup, but you couldn't tell from looking at it. A bit less soup and a proper layering of the pork would have been "the way to go"

                    Other niggles:
                    - no white pepper on offer. instead, dried garlic flakes and chili powder.
                    - no offer of popular toppings such as soft-boiled egg, green onions, sweet corn, nori, naruto

                    voila. I am by far not an authenticity freak. they touch on the core elements of a ramen, got some parts of it wrong, neglect others entirely, and end up with something that is yes very tasty and interesting, but not a ramen.

                    also, it should be said, this soup cost $8.50CND. Tokyo is a damn expensive place but you won't find a 900¥ ramen this oddly assembled.

                    1. re: bopuc

                      Very excellent and informative summary Bopuc! Thanks for taking the time to explain to us ramen-newbies.

                      I unfortunately have never had "authentic" ramen. Grew up on those instant ramen packages, doctored to have a Korean taste, and served with kimchi. Highly dubious.

                      I totally buy your argument about this not being real ramen. Still, it is a tasty product.

                      I do have a question, where in North America can you get an "authentic" ramen? Form other discussions on this site, it would appear that the only place to get "authentic" ramen like they make it in Japan is in Japan!

                      1. re: moh

                        I had very good ramen in NYC last year and the broth was so dark and rich and interesting, not a flavourful chicken broth as you'd find here. As I mentioned in another post, we did head to Ramen-ya for lunch today. I had the soya broth soup with breaded pork cutlet and it was nice but nothing remotely like my NY ramen. It would be nice if they offered two sizes for the soups too as it was a really big portion. I liked the crisp sesame pancake but the gyoza had too much of a sausage flavour for my taste. All in all, if I was wandering nearby and craved noodle soup I'd probably go back .. but then again, they are so close to Supermarche Andes with all their excellent tacos and pupusas, hmmm ... and the noodle soups at Wok 'n' Roll are cheaper and have all that fresh Thai basil .. I also like the udon soup I've had at Higuma if I'm looking for that Japanese flavour (even if they do have some Javanese in their kitchen instead of Japanese).

                        1. re: moh

                          Not a connoisseur by any stretch but I would say that, unsurprisingly, Vancouver is your best bet for Japanese cuisine in Canada. I certainly had sushi and sashimi that uniformly knocked the socks off places in Toronto and Montreal. And very affordable too. Here are some threads from the Western Canada forum:

                          http://www.chowhound.com/topics/504786
                          http://www.chowhound.com/topics/502967
                          http://www.chowhound.com/topics/490365
                          http://www.chowhound.com/topics/516949

                          1. re: moh

                            Glad to hear people thought my ramen rambles are informative. Was starting to feel like some kinda pedant, haha. :)

                            yeah, no, instant noodle soups marketed as "ramen" in the world have nothing to do with japanese ramen. Interesting to read up on the history of Instant Noodles and how the generic name for "noodle soup", which is literally "ramen" (la mien, ra mien, etc. the kanji for noodle is recognized all over asia and has various pronunciations, but most seem to sound like "men" or "mien")

                            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Instant_...

                            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ramen

                            As for where to get good ramen in NA? Easy, anywhere with a substantial japanese population. Montreal's japanese community is *tiny* (last I heard, a few years ago, 6000 japanese are full time residence of the province of quebec. we see alot of tourists and students, but few stick around). I have had decent ramen in New York City, Toronto, San Francisco, Los Angeles (prolly the best) and Vancouver. (Yes, sushi in Vancouver and LA kick ass. They are by teh water... all sushi in Mtl was frozen at some point.) Osaka on Bleury, years years years ago used to offer ramen on their lunch menu, but the ownership changed and it's no longer on the menu (by the way Osaka is probably the best "home cooking" japanese in the city.

                            )

                            man, i talk too much... ;)

                            SO, when will we see onigiri in dépanneurs? :D

                          2. re: bopuc

                            Thanks from me too, Bopuc! Thoroughly enjoyed reading what you've posted here.

                            (You sound a bit like my Texan husband did after I dragged him to Mesquite and Bofinger...) :-) Always educational to hear how something tastes to someone who's experienced the real thing.

                          3. re: bopuc

                            I went here recently and I heard vietnamese being spoken. The whole atmostphere feels fake. I had the pork gyoza which was very good for the skin but not so good for the inside. I then had a pork slice shoyu ramen which was ok. The broth is a bit bland however so I used the fried onion shaker a lot.

                            Are the fried onions normal condiment for ramen cos it's also very vietnamese.

                          4. I wanted to mention also that we ordered the fried mochi dessert. It was three tiny mochi dumplings. One with red bean, one with peanut butter, and one with black sesame. The assortment was served with a tiny scoop of ice cream (we chose green tea but they also have red bean and ginger). It was okay but not worth $5, and we probably won't order it again.