I wouldn’t dare string the words authentic, ramen and Montreal in one sentence to gush about anything we’ve got going on here, right now. But that doesn’t mean that there aren’t places in the city where I can lick a bowl of ramen dry and like it. I’m good as long as the broth is tasty without the side effects of an MSG overload, the noodles aren’t mush and the pork is marbled with fat.
But that’s about to change.
Combining a minimalist look and a super casual feel, Ramen-Ya is a small shop suited for low-key feeding. A few tables are set by the windows, but I like to sit at the bar overlooking the open kitchen so no one has to look straight at me while I’m eating ramen – it gets ugly.
Ramen only makes up a portion of the menu, but if you’re going to step into a ramen shop, commit to the ramen. Why anyone would order anything else is beyond me. You can choose from six meat options to pair with shoyu, miso or curry broth – all within the $10.50 to $13.00 range.
Roast pork (chashu) is the way to go, and when paired with spicy miso broth, they make a winning combo ($11.00). Firm, springy noodles (which our waiter said are made on-site) are immersed in a flavorful liquid base that’s wonderful salty and not as spicy as it looks. Floating at the surface are thin slices of succulent pork with hints of sweetness and layers of fat accompanied by wakame, wood ear mushrooms, bean sprouts, spring onions and sesame seeds. Get it. I didn’t regret it.
I tried and liked the shoyu broth too, particularly with roast pork ($10.50). Dressed with the same aforementioned ingredients, it also includes half an egg with a wiggly yolk and a strip of nori. Flavored with a good dose of soy sauce, the light brown stock smells of sesame oil and is salty, of course, but not overpoweringly so. I prefer the spicy miso broth a smidge more, but I wouldn’t mind switching back and forth between the two in the future – both are solid.
Sushi is also available…and while I wouldn’t come here strictly for the sushi, the weekday lunch special offers a kamikaze roll on the side with your ramen for a total of $12.50. It didn't suck.
Dumplings are the usual ramen sidekicks, but I dig the simplicity of tofu – in this case, the agedashi tofu ($6.00). It features five large cubes of soft tofu – dusted with cornstarch and lightly fried to a golden brown – and a simple mix of dashi (fish stock), mirin (sweet rice wine) and soy sauce for a delicious boost.
Portions are average-sized, prices are slightly higher and it’s not as convenient to get to when you compare Ramen-Ya with competitors. But that’s not going to stop me. I’m done missing out.
4274 blvd. Saint-Laurent | map