Sunday, February 23, 2014

Me so hungry... - Misoya

Ramen. It's funny how such a commonplace food item in Japan that can be found in nearly every major train station is so sought-after in the Western world, with self-proclaimed ramen experts popping up left and right. I blame Naruto.

But Montreal is pretty lacking in good ramen joints, and while I'm usually content with a bowl of spicy Chinese noodles or steaming hot pho, there are times where I'm just hankering for some good ol' fashioned ramen. So when I heard about the international ramen chain that had recently opened up in Montreal, I knew I had to go check it out. Or, rather,my ramen-crazed friend did, and knew she had to drag me with her. 

I know I've really fallen off the blogging bandwagon, but school has been kicking my butt recently. And there seems to be something wrong with my blogger account... Anyway, I'm still restauranting, but just haven't had much time to write about them.

Accessibility - Grade: A
The restaurant is located where the old Kiss Grill was, on Bishop's street, right next to Concordia. It's about a five minute walk (probably not even) from Guy-Concordia metro, Guy exit. 

Service - Grade: B+
Our waitress was very nice, all smiles and polite courtesies. I think she was Japanese, since she spoke to the chefs in Japanese, and had a Japanese accent when speaking English. Still, standard service, nice waitress. I'm not complaining.

Food - Grade: C+
Wow, I haven't given a C grade in a while. And I wanted to like this place, I really did. Buuut...

Tofu 'salad'
I keep putting salad in quotes when referring to Asian cold dishes, because it's not really a salad unless it's full of greens and tossed in a vinaigrette, in my opinion. My friend and I went to Misoya for lunch, so we had the lunch special, which included either a cold tofu appetizer or daikon appetizer. I don't normally like raw tofu, but I thought it was the Japanese silken tofu, which I'm okay with. Nope. It's a firmer, more curd-like tofu. The kome miso and black sesame dressing was savoury enough and distracted me a little from the texture of the tofu, but overall, cold, raw tofu is just not my thing.

Shiro Miso
I ordered the shiro miso, or white miso, which was supposed to be the milder of the two types of miso they had. One of the reasons I prefer other types of noodles over ramen is because the primary taste is just salt. Sure, there are delicate fragrances of the dashi and pork in the broth, having only salt as the main flavour made the noodles feel like it was missing something. So I ordered the white miso hoping that the broth would be less salty so that I could taste the other flavours in the soup.

Holy briny sea urchins, batman! I think my tongue went numb from the sheer saltiness of the broth. I'm not sure if I was just unlucky and the guy who was making my ramen happened to knock the salt shaker into my bowl, or if their ramen was just made to be that salty, but my eyes almost teared from the saltiness. I really wish I was joking.

On a good note, I really liked their Cha-shu pork. It was thick and juicy, grilled to a caramelized brown on the outside, while still tender and fatty on the inside. And the noodles themselves were springy and not too clumpy. It's just too bad that all that is overshadowed by salty broth.

Kome miso ramen
My friend ordered the kome miso ramen with an extra miso-flavored egg. I tried a bit of her broth, and ironically enough, hers was less salty than mine (although by that point, I couldn't really gauge the salt level of anything). She said it was a little on the salty side, but not bad, and she did seem to enjoy it.

Price - $$
The lunch special has the ramen and side dish at $9.99, which isn't too bad. However, if you order off their regular menu, then a bowl of ramen is around $12 -$13. My major complaint is that the ramen is really quite threadbare if you don't add any of the extras. I mean, sure, a no-frills ramen sounds great in theory, but when they don't even include half an egg in it, it just feels stingy. Also, if you want the extra miso egg or an (1) extra slice of chashu pork, then it's $1.50 each, so in the end, it really adds up. For a simple bowl ramen, it is on the pricier side.

Overall Grade: B-
While the broth was mind-numbingly salty and the prices a little inflated, Misoya does have some things going for it, such as the chashu pork. And since a few of my friends have been there and liked it, I do want to give them the benefit of the doubt. So maybe one day I'll go back and try their ramen again, but for now, I'll probably stick to Kazu.

2065A Bishop 

(514) 373-4888
(check their photos for pictures of the menu)
Ramen Misoya on Urbanspoon


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