Address: 5469 Yonge Street. Toronto, ON M2N 5S1
Phone: (416) 229 – 6191
Conveniently located on Yonge Street, near Finch Avenue makes this udon specialized restaurant easily accessible and noticeable. But you have to be walking to really notice the entrance because the sign is on an angle and indifferent from a lot of other storefronts, on the darker shade. When we drove down Yonge Street, we missed it twice, as big as our eyes were. But, if you are purposely making a trip to visit the restaurant, just use a GPS, especially to find parking because we had to park at the church on the side street. Hopefully, they were not mad at us. Thank you God. =)
The restaurant is quite narrow and sits roughly around 60 at most. I arrived on Friday at 7pm, thinking it will still be early, as everyone might still be stuck in rush hour traffic. Was I ever wrong; I was the tenth on the waiting list, mostly groups of two or three. In the end, I was standing for minimum forty five minutes. Therefore, I highly recommend making reservations on Friday evenings and on the weekends, otherwise, the wait can be quite tedious.
Because it is situated on an angle, there are two large windows with tonnes of natural sunlight flowing into the restaurant, brightening every corner. The layout is pretty straightforward, maximizing the space to the best they could. Since MeNami has the same owner as Han Ba Tang, which is ten minute drive south, the restaurant has a similar theme and touch to the latter. MeNami has a rustic look with the stone wall, wood both like chairs, bar table, cabinets and concrete flooring. A flow was created from the natural material finishings, and the matching colours like the congruent cabinets, table and bar top, consistent grey floor to grey stools to grey walls. Harmony and comfort is achieved.
The day we arrived, a party of twelve, who arrived and seated way before us, were celebrating a friend’s birthday, therefore all orders were delayed approximately ten to fifteen minutes. The service was amazing, informing what was very popular on the menu and recommended items based on what your palette was looking for. Because we studied the menu before being seated, we knew for a very long time what we were going to order. But the food took so long to arrive, at least thirty minutes. Our stomachs were growling like crazy. The server was so apologetic that she gave us an appetizer on the house, so nice. Alas, our food finally came!
Three udons were ordered to share between us, to try the different flavours. The portions may look small, but the approximately 2 cup portion of udon per dish was definitely enough. The noodles can be quite filling, especially on hungry stomachs.
Tako-Wasa ($3.50) is a common and standard Japanese izayaka dish of chopped up octopus sashimi seasoned with wasabi and green onions, served with seaweed. The dish was very stimulating, with the pungent flavours of wasabi. The ingredients were very fresh, especially the octopus, which had remnants taste of the ocean water. The fresh green onions and seaweed gave added crunchiness when the juicy octopus was dabbed or wrapped within. Overall, this was a delightful appetizer, getting your nervous system spiced up and preparing your stomach for the upcoming food.
The Original Tsuke Udon ($7.95) served on a bamboo mat is dry udon topped with seaweed and sesame, with a sauce made of grated ginger, daikon, onion, on the side. The udon arrived with steam emitting from the noodles but after a couple minutes, it became cold serve. The simplicity of the udon brings us back to the basics or to the natural aroma of Japanese cuisine, where the vital ingredients always used were shown. The sauce was fresh, had strong aroma of the raw daikon and onion, cleaning our the palette for other heavily flavoured udons ordered. I thoroughly enjoyed the udon.
Curry Udon with Shrimp Tempura ($11) is udon submerged in the thick Japanese style curry, topped with tempura shrimps and onions. The dish had the exact same essence of a don or a rice bowl dish, but with udon. It was nicely paired. Curry clung and lingered onto the strands of udon. Our mouths were filled with the fragrant spice with every slurp. The tempure shrimps were crispy and crunchy, thankfully lightly battered. Overall, there was no surprise to the curry udon, and was quite self explanatory or as how I envisioned it to be.
Salmon Cream Sauce ($13) is a udon topped with pan seared salmon, tomato oil, and green onion. Couple of eating ways, breakup the salmon to smaller pieces and mix into the noodles or eat the salmon as an individual. The salmon was fresh, soft and had residual pink in the center. Nonetheless, the udon dish reminded me of alfredo pasta but lot less heavy or strong in taste. Thankfully, not so cheesy. The tomato oil did not contribute much to the overall flavour, but sure gave a nice appearance.
All the udon noodles were handmade in the restaurant because they were of different thicknesses and lengths. Texture was al dente, just done the way I like. The portions were quite filling and generous for the price. There were no wow-factor to the restaurant but MeNami will be returned for sure, just to fix my udon crave. Popularity was given because it is the only restaurant dedicated to udon. The restaurant was full of inspiration for those who likes to cook and be adventurous with their food. Different styles to make udon were learned and “stolen”.