Suanne and I went downtown to cover an event a couple of weeks ago. Since the event was late beyond our normal dinner time and does not really serve food, we decided to just go check out the place which Rey was raving about.
Many would claim that Kintaro’s Ramen is the best in Vancouver. If I recall correctly, Rey even said that Kintaro has the best Ramen outside of Japan … something like that … something like wow, you just gotta try it!
We had seen lines outside the small restaurant before and it was something that put us off trying Kintaro. This time we were there at 5:30PM, just before dinner rush hour. There were tables available at that time. However, by 6PM there were already people patiently waiting outside the restaurant for a table.
Despite its popularity, the restaurant is unbelievably small and if I could add, spartan. I guess it is the charm of a place like this. It is its simplicity that adds to the charm. In Kintaro, it is all about Ramen, and about Ramen. I always believe that a setup like Kintaro is best left as it is … i.e. they should not change a proven formula by expanding this place or remove the long lines! LOL!
I absolutely had no idea what they were all shouting about throughout the time we were there. They shouted the moment we walked in … each time a customer walks out or make an order.
Service was polite. They were polite and patient when they took our orders even though we had so many questions on their menu. I guess it was OK then because there were not so many customers. When the lines starts to form, they were politely coming around very fast the moment we put down a chopstick asking if we are done. I understand that they wanted to turn the tables as fast as they can. They did it politely and we understand. Kintaro is not a place where you would dine … I say spending 45 minutes here is stretching it a bit too long during peak hours. It’s order-eat-pay-go here.
The Red Pepper Mix above (called Shichimi Togarashi) is a common Japanese spice mix used for soups and noodles. It’s a mix of 7 kinds of ingredients.
Kintaro’s menu is a simple 1-pager. We opted for the one that stated “Kintaro’s BEST!”. It is the Miso Ramen ($8).
At the time of ordering here, you need to decide on the richness of the broth (rich, medium or light) and either you wanted fat or lean pork. We asked for RICH broth and FAT pork.
Kintaro’s menu says that their soup is flavored with a blend of soy bean pastes from 4 different Japanese regions and twelve spices. Whatever it is, the soup was very flavorful. The broth was way too rich which somehow made us feel full. We should have asked for medium instead. You could ask for additional toppings ranging from $1-$2 but we did not bother with that.
There were 2 big slices of rather thick pork with mouth-watering marblings. This was like the ultimate in pork … goodness-delicious melt-in-your-mouth type. It was way better than the rather comparatively pitiful ones we had at G-Men — no comparison really. (more…)