Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Kenzo Japanese Noodle House (Mississauga)

Finally. FINALLY. Mississauga gets a ramen restaurant. I don't exactly know why it took so damn long but the fact of the matter is that it's finally here. Kenzo Japanese Noodle House will go down in history as the first ramen dedicated restaurant to tackle Mississauga. This Kenzo ramen chain's fifth location opened in July and is situated at 720 Burnhamthorpe Rd. W. inside a plaza. Yes a plaza with ample free parking spots. No Green P's. No street parking. These are PERKS of the 'BURBS my friends. Digging through my old posts I realized I blogged about Kenzo's Annex location two years ago. At the time if you wanted ramen in downtown you only had a choice of Kenzo or Ajisen. That's it. Ramen spots such as Kinton Ramen, Sansotei, Santouka, Ramen Raijin and Ryus Noodle House didn't even exist yet.

I'm no ramen expert nor am I a ramen snob. Whilst others debate between whether Santouka or Sansotei is better I am absolutely fine with going to Raijin, Kinton and Kenzo. I like them too. It doesn't mean I don't have a preference - I do have mental notes when it comes to which I like better - but I certainly don't mind eating at any one of them. And FYI I prefer Sansotei over Santouka, I haven't been to Ryus yet and I always avoid Ajisen.

GYOZA ($8.95)
Japanese style pork dumplings.

Spicy Netsu ramen with five toppings of roasted pork, sliced egg, fish cake, fresh seaweed and dried seaweed. Seasonal topping: marinated bamboo shoot.


Hakata style pork bone soup ramen.

A rich miso soup base with mixed stir fried vegetables with your choice of ground pork or chicken

I really liked the Tonkotsu Ramen. The broth was flavourful without being salty. It wasn't too rich nor was it at all fatty...just very nice and soothing. The bouncy noodles were great and the pork was decent (I've had better pork elsewhere). Overall, the Tonkotsu is my favourite so far. On the other hand if I was really hungry and/or craving spice I would choose the King of Kings Ramen. This tasty, ginormous bowl of ramen is really satisfying. It's certainly the best value, best bang-for-the-buck ramen on the Kenzo menu. I didn't like the Sapporo Miso Ramen.  Invented and named after the capital of Hokkaido, I found the Sapporo Miso soup base too salty. The mish-mash of stir-fried vegetables with ground meat also didn't cut it as it was boring and monotonous... perhaps adding actual Sapporo would do the trick? Anyway I now know I absolutely need nori, egg, and thick slices of pork with my ramen to be happy. Oh and I enjoyed the gyozas too. With someone making them on the spot these plump dumplings were fresh then pan fried to perfection. They were slightly crispy on the outside and the pork was well-marinated, juicy, and tender.

Whether you think Kenzo is fantastic, average or not-so-great, for me it's still nice to know that I can get a bowl of hot ramen just 10 minutes from my house!