Koichi Ramen (Somerset)
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Ginza - Ramen Sushi Sake Bar (Elgin)
Hintonburg/ Preston/ Chinatown
Formerly Ichiko, formerly Ginza.
Foods from Koichi Ramen
2016 Mar 24
We came here for dinner last Friday since I was feeling Ramen but not feeling the hike out of the Chinatown hood.
When we arrived the resto was packed. Nice decor! Unfortunately only one server was running the Friday dinner rush vs. 3 in the kitchen. There was a constant line of people waiting for seats.
We were seated in the only available spot up on the counter ledge by a window into the kitchen. We were told we could move when a seat became available but since it was so busy all the new spots were quickly given to other waiting guests and we were never offered a move.
Oh well. We ordered the Chicken Wing Yakitori for an appetizer and it was quite good. Not a traditional style wing but one flattened out and put on skewers - soft skin on the charcoal grill vs crispy. The wasabi mayo dip added a nice punch.
I had the Spicy Tonkotsu that was very nice, and my BF had the Shio (chicken broth). The pork belly was really flavourful. Both came with the usual bamboo, sprouts and shitake mushrooms. Very tasty. The spicy had the soft boiled egg and the shiyo did not. The noodles weren't quite as good as some of the Ramen I am used to from Toronto where ramen shops run a plenty but still have a nice chewy texture.
The ramen took well over 40 minutes passed our appy to arrive. There seem to be some kind of confusion in the kitchen were the staff couldn't tell the waitress which orders food belonged too, and I saw a couple apps made in duplicate that eventually got tossed from the pass. They were definitely in the weeds and understaffed.
The spicy broth was quite spicy and the heat grows on you. Our ordered drinks never arrived and my water was quickly emptied. I didn't finish since the spice took me over. I tried multiple times to flag the waitress but she was slammed and gave up.
Took another 15 minutes to finally pay our bill amidst the chaos and as we left realized we had been charged for the drinks we never received. After over 1.5 hours in the chaos we didn't feel up to trying to flag the waitress to return our 7$ plus tax. I sent an email but no response yet.
Disappointing on the service end but like I said the grub was quite good. I might try again at a less busy time.
2015 Jul 10
Finally made a return trip here to see if anything was different either in my mind or in their soup.
The meat is definitely the highlight of the bowl, it's really good.
I'm still definitely not over the moon about the rest of it, though. The broth at least hits initially with the right flavour, but it's just not substantial enough to carry through-- kind of superficial, and there's a depth/thickness/richness (or something, my vocabulary may be failing me) missing that's especially noticeable after slurp three or four.
Still find the cremini mushrooms super out of place and the egg under-flavoured. Noodles were a touch better this time out (for whatever reason, I imagine they're the same ones) but still off the mark.
That said, everyone else I speak to seems to like it, so maybe my expectations are off. After eating great bowls at a few different spots in Toronto and Montreal, though, I feel like there's still plenty of room for an Ottawa ramen shop to get closer to authentic Japanese stuff.
2015 Jan 19
So I'm super excited to have a dedicated ramen shop in Ottawa and I really want it to succeed and, in turn, encourage other shops to set up in town. That said, although it's a decent option to have in these parts, Ginza's bowl left me underwhelmed on the whole.
The noodles were the principal reason. Sure, they came from a package, but a seemingly mismatched one for the bowl I ordered. For a Hakata Tonkotsu ramen, I'd expect thin and straight noodles-- instead, they were mid-sized round and crimped, much more starchy Chinese stir-fry/yakisoba than what I'd expect to have in a tonkotsu. They soaked up the bowl's contents and expanded to the point that they were unavoidable in the soup, and they did nothing for it. Not a match for the broth, and single-handedly kept me from enjoying the bowl as a whole.
The broth itself was pretty good-- not as rich as I'd unreasonably hoped, but enough to still call it a decent ramen fix. But there was a conspicuous chicken flavour that hit first with every slurp, which was odd for an apparently primarily pork-bone broth.
The toppings were nice to see-- it's a great looking bowl when it's served. The meat was good and right, maybe the highlight of the bowl. I enjoyed the bamboo shoots, though didn't get much flavour or crunch out of the bean sprouts and green onions.
The egg was well-cooked but could have used longer to marinate in soy, and the mushrooms for some reason were cremini, which didn't make a whole lot of sense at all.
Finished with the mochi ice cream, which was delicious.
The restaurant is gorgeous inside, big fan of the wooden motif and the counter seats that look into the kitchen. Service was friendly.
I want to love this place and thought I'd be a regular, but I'm having to push myself to give it another shot (it ain't cheap, either). I really do think that changing the noodles would go a long way-- can't say enough how much they hurt the bowl overall.
In any case, it's a fair start, but I want it to be so much more-- though I acknowledge the inherent difficulty in making and serving ramen in Ottawa.
(I should also mention I tried to get in touch with the management/chef via e-mail to share this feedback directly, but didn't get a response)
2014 May 31
It was busy at 7:30 on a Friday evening during their second week of business and the staff and kitchen in this cozy restaurant were struggling to keep up with demand. They were super nice and apologized for the delay, which didn't seem all that long really in the end. Our water glasses (or woods? they're bamboo) were replenished frequently.
This location has a smaller menu than the Elgin one, focused more on hot Japanese food. No sushi, salad, pho, or vermicelli here.
I tried the
Hakata Tonkotsu Ramen
and it was super rich and tasty. I thought the broth was even more rich than the one I enjoyed in my Miso tonkotsu ramen at the Elgin location a month ago. It was like a porky gravy and very filling. My wife found it a little too rich -- happy to have tried another soupy noodle dish, she will return to eating
whenever she can. :-)
Unfortunately, they had run out of squid legs, but we were able to enjoy the chicken version of the dish:
(bottom of pic). These were crispy and succulent cubes of deep fried chicken breast served with wasabi mayo. Awesome!
2014 Aug 27
I had the Shoyu Ramen which has all the same toppings as the Hakata Tonkatsu Ramen (1/2 soft boiled egg, bamboo shoots, mushrooms, seaweed, pork belly amd bean sprouts) and enjoyed it immensely. The difference is the broth. Shoyu comes with a clearish chicken broth. It was very hot and tasty - just a little bit too salty. The noodles had a nice slight chewiness, i.e., they were not overcooked, a big plus. While the noodles seemed to be bought, they are of a much nicer quality than most other ramens I have tried in the Ottawa/Gatineau region (I have not been to Sidedoor yet). My one disappointment is that they seem to have run out of shiitake mushrooms and I got button mushrooms.
I sampled the miso broth and the pork broth from my dining partners' Hakata Tonkatsu and Miso Tonkatsu and found those to be very flavourful and rich. Definitely the best ramen broths in Ottawa.
I almost forgot to comment on the excellent and generous portion of pork belly on any of the ramen bowls. It was slightly charred on the sides. Also definitely the best pork belly on a ramen in Ottawa.
Lots of reasons why this will be my go to place for ramen in Ottawa!
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