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Saka-Ba!

This new restaurant by Junichi Ikematsu opened yesterday. I sat at the red wood counter facing the kitchen where you can see all the action. There's also a long communal table and seats at the bar.

They didn't get their alcohol permit yet and strangely did not have hot tea either.

I ordered a medium bowl of shoyu & pork broth ramen (10$). It came with 3 fatty slices of char siu, sprouts, canned bamboo, half a soft boiled egg and scallions. I don't usually eat shoyu ramen but there was nothing wrong with this broth. The ramen noodles are on the thin side but was toothsome.

I also ordered chicken kara-age (6$) and yakitori (6$ for 2 skewers).

The kara-age is the chicken thigh bites variety (not wings) and was well seasoned. I prefer the leaner version available at Furusato. It came with a light spicy mayo sauce. I would have prefer some lemon wedges.

The chicken yakitori was well seasoned as well. It was grilled with red onion and scallion. It's about on par with the offering from Kazu but more expensive/fancy.

I will come back to try the lobster broth ramen (14$) and the other appetizers.

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  1. Thanks for the review. I was planning to try it tomorrow maybe, is there anything a vegetarian could eat there?

    2 Replies
    1. re: Glaff

      It would depend on whether they have a broth or sauce for the ramen that is non-meat in origin, such as miso. With luck, very good miso...

      1. re: Glaff

        The shoyu broth has a strong pork flavor and the other broth is lobster based so it depends on your definition of vegetarian :)

        I did not write down all the appetizer options.

        Misoya has a vegetarian broth.

      2. Saka-Ba: Address
        1279 Mont-Royal Est, corner of Chambord, Montreal, QC H2J 1Y4
        Getting there: Mont-Royal Metro
        Phone: (514) 507-9885 MAP

        from here: http://montreal.about.com/od/foodwine...

        1. passed by tonight. it is good! will definitely go back once they have their permit

          place is empty. i'm guessing it will be bustling once the reviews come in

          5 Replies
          1. re: twinkie83

            It's still a soft opening. I'm guessing they're still experimenting with their menu.

            1. re: twinkie83

              I passed by on Monday around 7pm and the place seemed more than half-full. I think word is getting out.

              1. re: SnackHappy

                We went on Wednesday and it was pretty busy. I liked the ramen although the shoyu broth seemed very subtle and mild to me so I'd probably get some kim chi next time. The proportions of ingredients was good, just the right amount of noodle and they were a good texture. The egg was good. I don't love bamboo shoot but I gather it's a pretty authentic ingredient. The meat was very tender and fairly fatty, not too salty either.

                We also had some kara age which was a big hit with one of my kids. It had a nice marinade and they did present it with a bit of lemon as well as the spicy mayo. It was funny to see lots of adults struggling with those Ramune Japanese soda pops so the liquor licence will be a plus. I had some excellent tea. The seaweed salad looked good, will try it next time. A good addition to the neighbourhood.

                 
                1. re: Plateaumaman

                  Are you sure you went to Saka-Ba on Wednesday? I was told, they're closed on Wednesdays(I tried to go today, but they're closed).

                  1. re: BLM

                    Oops, you are right, we went on Tuesday. Sorry about that.

            2. Who is Junichi Ikematsu ? Does he/she have other restaurants we should know about?

              2 Replies
                1. I was there last night at around 6h30. They don't have their liquor permit yet so we had homemade yuzu lemonade which was very good. We shared 3 appetizers, fried chicken with a spicy mayo, dumplings and edamame. The fried chicken was very light and tasty, I would order again. Then we each had a pork broth ramen, there was only one option as the lobster broth was not yet available. total bill was 40$ incl tax. I will wait to go back to try the other ramen they will be offering but overall good experience

                  1. Tried both the shoyu and the lobster broth ramen last night. Very good, nice flavourful broth in both, beautiful cha shu, and I'm just generally glad that ramen seems to be on the rise in Montreal.

                    Did not love the kara-age. It now comes with a lemon wedge in addition to the mayo (which appears to have some kind of fish roe in it, and I found the fishiness did not serve the dish well).

                    I'm glad Saka-Ba is there and will return, but I wouldn't say this place is on the same level as the better places I've tried in New York (Totto and Bassanova). Haven't been to Misoya recently, but will go soon to compare. If my memory is reliable, Misoya should have a slight edge over Saka-Ba.

                    And I've still yet to try the ramen at Kazu, but maybe I'll make a lunchtime trip there soon.

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: Mr F

                      In terms of potency, it's Misoya->lobster?->Kazu->Saka-Ba Shoyu->Hakata.

                      The "tonkotsu" at Misoya is not what I can get in NYC.

                      1. re: marblebag

                        Somehow I was unaware of Hakata's existence, but now that I am I must say that is one of the most annoying websites I've ever had the misfortune to visit. How's the food?

                        1. re: Mr F

                          Don't waste your time unless you're in the area and don't want to eat Harvey's.

                          1. re: Mr F

                            Yeah Hakata is meh. To be fair I find their noodles better than Misoya....I really don't like Misoya. Try Kim Ramen on St.Mathieu, I like them (hand made noodles on the spot too, though I guess it's more chinese style.)

                      2. Had the pork ramen and kara age. Lobster was not available. :(
                        Kind of underwhelmed by ramen - broth had no depth of flavor. On the plus side, noodles were al dente.
                        I agree with Mr. F about the fried chicken. Kind of flavorless as well and the sauce didn't help.
                        Enjoyed the cocoa-red bean-cream cheese mochi but only one per serving and kinda small.
                        Guess will try other stuff to see how the rest fares.