Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Kintaro Ramen 金太郞

Kintaro has been my go-to ramen restaurant ever since I was in high school. The ramen shop offers a rich, medium or light broth and a choice of fatty or lean barbecue meat. In addition, asides from the basic ramen choices such as shoyu, shio and miso, Kintaro offers a spicy garlic, vegetable, and cheese ramen as well. Tsukemen is also available but only during the months of summer.

Like other ramen restaurants, Kintaro has plenty of bar seats, one communal table and a few tables for two. Long line ups are usually expected too but on my countless visits, I have only had to line up once which was a short fifteen minute wait!

BBQ PORK MISO RAMEN ($11.45) + BOILED EGG ($1.00).
Kintaro declares their miso ramen as the best, which is the one we always order along with a "rich" broth and fatty pork. We also decided to try something "different" and to order the barbecue pork ramen series which includes double the portion of meat. The chashu is always served cold so the broth does not overcook the meat, but the meat warms up from the hot soup base anyways.

Unfortunately though, the thick slices of meat do not taste as tender as usual and are surprisingly fairly dry. As for the broth, there is a rich and fatty miso flavour but the taste is noticeably saltier than usual. The other ingredients include green onion, corn, bamboo shoot, bean sprouts and an added egg.

I decided to try Kintaro's shio for the first time but still stuck with my usual "rich" broth and fatty pork. The broth tastes very fatty but lacks that nice rich and flavourful pork bone flavour. Furthermore, the broth tastes extremely salty and overwhelming. Santouka's shio definitely tastes a lot better.

As for the chashu, the meat tastes more tender compared to the ones from the miso ramen because the slices are thinner. In addition, the meat tastes fatty as well but could have tasted more tender. Since this is our first time ordering double the portion of chashu however, we did agree that it was too much meat for us. As for the other ingredients, the cooked al dente noodles have a nice chewiness and taste clear (properly rinsed) while the bean sprouts provide a bit of crunch. There is also a good amount of bamboo shoot.

TOTAL:$27.05 + TIP $2.95 = $30.00.

Kintaro seemed very average this time around and we were disappointed. Both orders of ramen tasted saltier than usual and the shio was the worst, which I had to pack up. We peaked at the kitchen staff too and noticed someone new, so perhaps that is the reason why. To see if Kintaro was just having a bad day, we decided to revisit because the restaurant has always been consistent.

Food: 2.5/5
Service: 2.5/5

MISO RAMEN, "Bean sprout, onion, bamboo shoot, green onion, corn and BBQ pork. Kintaro's best, ramen noodle in soup flavoured with a blend of soy bean paste from four different Japanese regions and twelve spices ($9.45) + BOILED EGG ($1.00).
On the revisit, both orders of ramen tasted much more better. The miso flavour is very rich, pairing well with the flavourful and fatty broth. If comparing to Santokua, Kintaro's broth is more fatty and rich instead of creamy and rich. Furthermore, the meat tastes very tender and melts in the mouth compared to the former visit.

SHIO RAMEN, "Bean sprout, bamboo shoot, green onion, boiled egg and BBQ pork. Ramen in a simple and mild soup made from pork bone stock and natural sea salt" ($8.95)
As for myself, I tried the shio ramen again but decided to try the "medium" broth for the first time. And surprisingly, the medium broth tastes great. There is a rich, flavourful and fatty pork broth with the perfect amount of saltiness. The broth does not taste salty one bit and the salt enhances the flavour as it should. There is also a good amount of bamboo shoots with provide a nice soft crunch and extra flavour.

In addition, the chashu is consistent with the ones from the miso ramen and tastes very tender. The noodles are also cooked al dente and have a nice bite. I have never had a bad experience with the noodles at Kintaro because they are always properly rinsed and taste clear, with no weird ammonia flavour. Ever.

TOTAL: $22.30 + TIP $3.70 = $25.00.

The revisit to Kintaro was great and consistent with the majority of my previous visits. The broths taste rich, fatty and flavourful, but not creamy like Santouka's which some may prefer more. Furthermore, having tried the "medium" broth for the first time, I will probably stick to that instead of my usual "fatty" as a health conscious choice. As for the staff, the waiter was great. He constantly checked to see if we needed more drinks.

- Friendly staff
- Large portions
- Above average ramen

- May not be consistent
- Not many seats like other ramen joints

Food: 3.5/5
Service: 3/5

Kintaro Ramen 金太郞 on Urbanspoon

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