Kenzo Japanese Noodle House
(604) 522 9969
Original post below:
Located in a very visible commercial building along Kingsway at the intersection with Griffiths Avenue, not far from the Middlegate Shopping Centre, Kenzo Japanese Noodle House is a pretty well known spot for those living in the area. I am sure the commuters who utilize Kingsway daily are also very familiar with this place due the lack of obstruction from the road right into the business’s front window.
Initial impressions gained from scanning the photographed items above the cashier station/beverage case/bar led me to think that the proprieters were Korean, given the Hangul descriptors I saw for the food images (along with the English text). As a ‘noodle house’ I was surprised to see a few non-noodle dishes displayed there, as well as in the menu booklet that I was given as I saw down.
The interior was quite clean, with the sunlight coming into the windows making for a very bright scene, even thought it was becoming close to sundown. Around me were other tables filled with diners, from couples (young and old), a mother with her children, and two guys who were friends and out for a meal together. The booth that I sat in had a light colored wood counter, but I thought the seats were a bit close to the table’s edge so it made for some effort in squeezing in, or is that just that my growing girth is the problem here…?
With the intent of using this visit to sample their ramen offerings, I quickly scanned the choices and asked for the SHIO RAMEN. There were other variants such as the shoyu (soy sauce), miso and some others that had spicy elements in the broth.
Toppings were a few thin slices of pork, bamboo shoots, green onions and a full boiled egg. The noodles were a variety I have seen in the cases of restaurant supply stores, and have bought myself in the past. The broth was light, a chicken-stock base and had not been topped off with any oil. How would I describe the dish overall? Very ‘plain Jane’, it reminded me of the kind of ramen that you find in Tokyo at a small ‘mom & pop’ kind of neighborhood place, your school cafeteria, etc. Frankly, I am able to make a better home version using store bought dried noodles (brand: Myojo Chukazanmai), adding some other ingredients to boost the soup and making a greater effort with the toppings.
For what it is, a simple dish of ramen, I suppose its not completely inedible, but if you live on the eastside and are willing to make the drive further westward to places like Menya or the popular Vancouver ramen-ya around Robson & Denman, you can get a more authentic and flavorful bowl.