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Touhenboku Ramen

Looks like we finally have our winner!

http://www.torontolife.com/daily-dish...

Pretty thrilled about this - can't wait to try it out!

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  1. Waiting for some CHers review. I know at least one of you was there today based on twitter :)

    3 Replies
    1. Gettin' called out here!!

      Well, I thought the garlic "Black" bowl was the best - but the broth was very saucy vs soupy and reminded me more of dan dan mein. This is not a bad thing, but I don't think of ramen when I think of that bowl. Still, good and hearty.

      You can check out the ramen machine the owner imported in the back. It creates a flatter noodle (similar to the one at Ryoji). There are two thicknesses to choose from: thin and thick. I opted for thick (the thinner one is very reminiscent of instant ramen).

      Their "Light" bowl is a lot closer to the rest of the ramen being served around the place and in line with what people might thick of ramen around here.

      Red bowl is their spicy noodle and not that spicy. Which is fine, just don't go in expecting fire. I understand that you can adjust the heat levels, but we weren't given that option.

      Broths are chicken based and hoooo is there a lot of collagen in 'em. Even their light broth has a good amount. Their garlic is crazy thick.

      Of the desserts I had, the chiffon was nice. I asked if they were ever going to do a Mt. Blanc and they said maybe! !!!!

      I would return sometime to eat the garlic bowl again, but I'd have to be hungry. And cold. So like, soonish, yeah? Santouka (hard noodle, less salt) still wins for my classic bowl. But Raijin will still win my dollars most often due to convenience and still-tasty.

      --
      http://www.foodpr0n.com/ -- food. is. love.

      7 Replies
      1. re: jlunar

        I had the black bowl tonight, with soy & the thin noodles. Place was pretty packed. It was delicious - very thick. Loved the flavour, and I really, really enjoyed the mouth feel and texture. Truly outstanding.

        I think they might have a bit of work to do on their pork - it was somewhat tough and probably could have used a bit more time. But, it's only their first or second day, so who knows if that will be typical.

        For any of those out you with shellfish allergies, their "white" + "red" bowls do not have any shellfish.

        1. re: justxpete

          Correction: Their red + black bowls do not have any shellfish.

        2. re: jlunar

          it was, ok, if you like chiken based ramen.

          finally, some people seem to notice that there is a little element of preferred style with ramen.

          either way, Raijin is better than most. having not been there in a few weeks, i was there this past weekend and noticed people seated in the back areas. i was wondering how long it would take people to come to the conclusion this place was better than the McD's of ramen down on Dundas, sorry Santouka is McD's for ramen...you say classic...i say boooorrrriiiiiinnnggggg...which is fine, but i call it the fast food of ramen...

          1. re: limitedtimeoffer

            Santouka is the best bowl in the city. I like Raijin quite a bit though. Calling Santouka the McD's of ramen means nothing, what are you trying to imply? That it's generic or cookie cutter ramen? That its made in a fast food cutting costs manner?

            1. re: limitedtimeoffer

              limitedtimeoffer..Santouka=McD's of Ramen???....really????...

              I would have slightly agreed if you had mentioned Ajisen...but calling Santouka boring is stretching it a bit too far.....

              1. re: warlock

                Santouka has the best ramen in my opinion but its also the most expensive :(
                the pork jowl meat is sooo good!! and the brooth is the best!!!

                1. re: setofdueces

                  Agree. Santouka is still my favourite

          2. Does anyone have any insight as to how busy this place is at lunch on a weekday? I work nearby and am thinking of going for lunch, as long as there is no crazy wait.

            Thanks!

            10 Replies
            1. re: ms. cornbread

              Since you work nearby, try walking by one day. If there's no line up, go in. If there is, keep walking!

              1. re: justxpete

                ....and share what you find out;-)

                1. re: T Long

                  justxpete - I'm trying to schedule an informal lunch meeting so trying to get an idea if I should go to Touhenboku or Chinatown. that 1 hr lunch goes by fast - need to be strategic:)

                  But yes, will report back if I make it soon.

                  1. re: ms. cornbread

                    It just opened last week so pretty impossible for anyone to have an accurate gauge - but I wouldn't risk it if it were a lunch meeting.

                    1. re: justxpete

                      Made it right after work instead. Got there around 5:30 pm and had no problem getting a table. There was a line by 5:50.

                      Overall impressions:

                      Had the black bowl (garlic) and enjoyed the flavour more than my friend's red bowl. Chose the thick noodles, would go for thin next time. Didn't have enough bite for me. Kind of mushy by the end.

                      The broth is too fatty/oily for my liking. I like a rich broth, but this was slick.

                      Egg was fine.

                      Lean pork was also fine, not as good as Kinton's or Santouka's. Would choose either of those places before going back here.

                      Also, they didn't have a liquor license yet which is too bad, I REALLY wanted a beer with my ramen :)

                2. re: justxpete

                  Walked by today @ around 2 and it was still pretty busy.

                3. re: ms. cornbread

                  I wonder if early is better than late in the lunch hour...? I recommended this place to my wife (after reading about it here), and this afternoon she had ramen with her friend. She rated the food as mediocre, but probably because it was overshadowed by perceived cleanliness issues.

                  It seems they may have had a very hectic lunch hour, and by the time she got there the bowls were sloppily cleaned. She thought they looked a bit grimy, and then after the meal the staff also had no idea how much the meal cost because they forgot to put her order in the system.

                  I'll probably not have a chance to go myself after this; hopefully with time they will get their act together, and if a bunch of good reviews come in I'll convince her to give them another try.

                  1. re: nogoro

                    Why would you even post something like this less than a week after they have been open?

                    1. re: szw

                      why not? this guy's not new to the restaurant business, we've had other threads about places needing to work some kinks out.

                      being disorganized is one thing, but I'd rather wait longer for my ramen than to have possibly grimy bowls. Anyway, I wasn't there, maybe my wife and her friend were overreacting...

                      1. re: nogoro

                        That was partly my point...you weren't even there.

                4. I went for lunch today - had the Black Bowl, with soy, rich pork and thin noodles. I really enjoyed the noodles and the pork, but I found the "broth" a little too rich and sweet after a while. That said I probably should have order the red bowl (spicy).

                  I went at lunch - later though, 12:45 and was seated right away. Most likely this was because it was early in the week, as I went Friday at 1:30 and the line-up was out the door. It was busy, and staff seemed a little overwhelmed by the take out, but I would try again for sure.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Shorttyred

                    I was there today for lunch as well. No wait. Also got the black bowl and while i liked the pork and noodles I did not like the broth one bit. It was very thick and heavy, only had a burnt like flavor from the garlic. Was downing water like crazy after.
                    I would of liked it if they would give u the whole egg instead of just half though, also it was pretty much cooked through and did not have a soft yolk.
                    I will try to go again and probably stick to the "light" version. Aside from that the place is alright, nice and speedy. The Karaaga was not bad either but their lunch combo is kinda expensive. Noodles with a side and rice at $14. The portion of karaaga i got with rice was all chopped up and in pieces. Not sure why.

                  2. Not too impressed.

                    I had the light broth as the heavy broths were sold out. Yes I might like tonkotsu a lot but I can appreciate a lighter tokyo style shoyu if done well. It is a style that's been under-represented in the recent ramen explosion.

                    Kaedama is only 50 cents and they give a pretty big serving. They'll bring it out in a bowl midway through your meal if you want to time it perfectly. Santouka still refuses to do this, why I don't know.

                    Even though the broth was lighter, it still felt a bit oily/fat. Nothing wrong with fat at all, alas the broth lacked concise flavour. I didn't really taste the chicken nor the shoyu. You need flavs to offset the fat. Could've used some dashi.

                    The charshu is not good at all, quite bad actually.

                    Egg isn't hanjuku, just slightly below hard boiled. Thumbs down.

                    I had the thin noodles which are decent, not getting a lot of the kansui toothsome feel though. These noodles lose their mouthfeel quite fast unfortunately. You must eat it in less than 5 minutes. A Ok's noodle machine noodles trumph these.

                    I'll go back to try the heavier broths, if that doesn't excite me then I'll just chalk this spot as not for me. I still have access to great bowls at Kingyo, Santouka and Sansotei.

                    Finally, little birdy says new ramen joint opening soon by sneaky dee's, with late night hours on Fri/Sat to feed your drunken desires.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: aser

                      You can also bet that that new Ramen spot will be in the same league as Kingyo, Sansotei, and Santouka. Can't wait.

                      1. re: Notorious P.I.G.

                        Wow, that is great! I live near Kensington Market so this is exciting. Any idea as to when we can expect this new ramen place to open?

                      2. I returned again this week. I have to say, I thought the white bowl was too thick. I mean it's almost a gravy, it's so thick! So I returned to the black/garlic bowl, which I'm quite fond of. Didn't enjoy the thick noodles, so will go back to thin next time, and the SO had the spicy (red bowl), which was very good.

                        Lastly, if/when you go, order the lean pork. Much better than the 'fatty', IMO.

                        And, be prepared: This is much thicker ramen then you've had before.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: justxpete

                          Justxpete, I agree it's good for the first bite but after a while the thickness of it gets to be too much. Have you tried the light version yet? May go back and try that one one day. I do love their service though, very nice there!

                          1. re: Gastroworld

                            The thickness of the garlic 'black' bowl doesn't bother me. When I had the 'white' bowl', it was too thick for me, and I didn't enjoy it.

                            I've been on a ramen tour of late (Kinton, Raijin, Sansotei, Santouka) in the last week or two, and none of their broths come close to the thickness of Touhenboku. I'd still argue that Santotei is the best.

                        2. Ask for an extra bowl. Mix broth from white with 'gravy' broth from black to create perfect consistency and amount of fat!

                          1. I'm a ramen lover and have already tried this place twice! Once during lunch and another for dinner. Both times, we did not have to wait, however, it was on a Sat.

                            I had the "white" broth with sea salt on both occasions, however, I changed up the noodles and meat. I prefer the thick noodles over the thin (the second time we went for dinner, they ran out of the thick noodles) and I enjoyed both the fatty and lean cuts of pork. The chicken broth base is very different from the pork based broth but they did a good job of making the chicken broth taste rich.

                            We had the gyoza dumplings and they were small and ok. We tried to order the Japanese desserts for lunch but was sad to hear they only serve the desserts after 3 pm. Needless to say, I tried to time our next visit so I could try the desserts too! Had the crepes and they were good.

                            Overall, I enjoyed my ramen here, however, I'm still a huge fan of Sansotei for the pork based broth.

                            1. Went tonight. Garlic bowl with thin noodles and normal pork. I thought it was tasty but I personally won't be rushing back. If I am in the area and I need a quick meal (assuming no line up) then I would consider it again but I wouldn't put it on my " I have a ramen craving, let's go somewhere" list.

                              I much prefer Santouka and even Kinton. Maybe next time I go to this place I will try the sea salt based broth but I already found the soy based broth really heavy on the salt (I didn't notice that as much as when at other ramen spots).

                              The service was super quick/efficient here. The atmosphere is more "fast food"ish for me, brighter lights, jazz music, etc.

                              1. Overall I really like the service from Touhenboku but their actual ramen takes some getting use to. It's a bit much. Also, a little strange that they are promoting themselves as having desserts because last time I went they really only had 3 available and the one we chose was mediocre at best.

                                http://gastroworldblog.blogspot.ca/20...

                                1. Tried this yesterday. No wait on a Saturday at 5:30.
                                  I had the white "shio" with thick noodles and lean pork. Thought the pork was excellent, though nothing approaches the jowl at Santouka. Enjoyed the thick mouthfeel of the broth but found it really fatty (urg, rather slaying), and so salty I was dehydrated for about 16 hours afterward. I general I didn't find the broth flavour as complex or appealing as pork-based ones.

                                  The DH had the black "shoyu" with thin noodles and chicken chashu. The broth seemed less fatty, and the flavour was more complex from the umami-filled garlic, which did have a noticeably burnt flavour. We liked it anyway but wondered if that is really what black garlic is supposed to taste like?
                                  The "chashu chicken" was fine, certainly less fatty than the "lean" pork. We didn't detect much difference between the thick and thin noodles - but neither were mushy by the bottom of the bowl. We thought both noodles were good if not spectacular.

                                  We also had the kara age which was pleasantly not greasy, though also not that crisp nor particularly remarkable.

                                  Personally I think I might stick with tonkotsu ramen places. As others have said, there's lots of room for taste differences when it comes to ramen...