Ramen Raijin

Address: 3 Gerrard St E, Toronto, ON M5B 2P3

Phone: (647) 748-1500

Website http://zakkushi.com/raiji:n/

IMG_0053Ramen became very popular within the last few years, with many eateries opening and gaining popularity around Toronto.  What differentiate each ramen joint is the variations of broth and the type of noodles.   Therefore, a wide variety of ramen exists in Japan, with geographical and vendor-specific differences.  Each individual chef will have its own style!

Discovered another ramen restaurant in the Downtown Toronto core, located on the border of Ryerson University.  Raijin in Japanese, apparently, means the God of Thunder.  With such a powerful and domineering name, I must try a bowl of ramen to see if it lives up to the godly standards.

Everything inside the interior was natural wood colours.  It followed the energy and vibe of the Japanese culture, where everything is simple, clean and highly respect the environment.  It was helping us connect to the nature and that everything originated from mother earth.

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The restaurant has a big open restaurant and we watched the chefs and assistants hustling bustling away on every order.

The moment we enter the sitting area, we watched by the towering Thunder God statue.  We paid our respect to the god and patiently waited to be seated.  At some point, it felt creepy because the statue was watching everyone’s movements and listening to every single word exchanged within the restaurant, as if there was nowhere to hide.

I question the hygiene or cleanliness of the restaurant because our server took us to a table with mega wet and dirty floor, probably from accidentally tipping a broth filled bowl.  The chair was also appeared wet.  I asked the servers to clean the floor and chairs for us before we seat.  I was aghast that she used newspapers to wipe the floor with her bare hands.  Then, she covered the floor with newspapers for us to step on, which turned soggy in no time.  I barely ate with my feet touching the ground.  But I am uncertain if she sanitized her hands immediately after.  Our cups of water were taken from readily filled ones on the kitchen counter-top.  These activities kind of threw me off or gave the restaurant a bad first impression.

Their tonkotsu soup broth is made in house, with pork bones, a Japanese fish dashi stock and vegetables in a pressurized pot, creating a rich creamy texture.

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wpid-20150322_195704.jpgwpid-20150322_195720.jpgTonkotsu Tsuke-Men Combo ($14.50) comes with a small rice bowl and a salad.  The rice bowl is actually Japanese curry, which tastes like the readily made sauce from Asian supermarket.  Salad tastes typical.  The ramen is topped with pork shoulder slice, seasoned bamboo shoots, canola flower and a soft boiled egg, green onion, nori seaweed, sesame seeds and served with a rich tonkotsu shoyu-dare dipping sauce.  You can eat the noodles two ways, dipping or mixing style.  This is the first Tsuke-men style ramen I ate and it is quite memorable.  The thick dipping sauce was really salty and somehow had a smokey flavour to it.  It was interesting, however, the more I dipped, the flavour began to alter, to a bit sour.  The noodles were softer than I usually like it to be, in between al dente and soggy, as if over boiled.  The pork shoulder was thickly sliced and the texture was tough and slightly hard.

wpid-20150322_195427.jpgTonkotsu Shio Ramen ($9.95) is a salt flavoured ramen topped with pork shoulder, green onion, canola flower, kikurage mushroom (black fungus), cabbage and half a soft boiled egg.  I enjoyed this ramen more, mainly because the hot broth kept the noodles warm and I liked the creamy, salty and smokey flavour.  I like to slurp up the broth while I eat my noodles because it adds amusement to the meal.  Additionally, I also liked heap of the raw green onions they used to garnish the bowl of noodles because the half cooked-half raw texture cleaned my heavily salted palate.  But, I find the use of cabbage as a topping a bit cheap or shabby.  The same complaint of the pork shoulder as the other ramen, thick, tough and hard.  Same complaint about the noodle texture as the other ramen we ordered, over cooked and soft.  I am also missing the dried seaweed garnish too!  Because I like how the seaweed soaks up the flavour.

Overall, I did not think the ramen tasted that great; I definitely tasted better ones in the city.  I like the pork shoulders a bit fat because that softens up the texture and it is easier to steep the flavours into the meat.  I am unsure if the chefs were having a bad cooking day, but I am feeling moderate and a bit less to this ramen joint.  The hygiene really scared me off and I do not think I will visit the restaurant a second time.

Ratings

Food 3/5

Service 3/5

Ambiance 3/5

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