Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Wakamono

Well, the other night Skrud and I were eager to go to Osaka for dinner, though it was closed, much to our dismay. After a brief internet search, I came across Wakamono (1251 Mont-Royal E, Montréal, Québec, T: (514) 527-2747), which claimed to be "modelled on the ramen shops that have been popular in Japan for over two hundred years." I checked out the rather fairly-priced menu and made a reservation.

We get there at around 7:30 and it's not very busy, maybe around 60% full. After being greeted by the (gorgeous) hostess, we were seated at our window-side table, getting a great view of the passers-by.

We ordered a half-bottle of saké, we each got an order of Tori Kara Age (fried spicy chicken marinated in saké, garlic, ginger, soy sauce and chilli pepper) and Wakamono ramen (braised pork, grilled chicken, shrimp, seasonal vegetables, naruto and wakame in a dashi broth).

The saké was quite tasty, and I'm convinced it was not Hakutsuru. It had a nice toasted rice flavour and went down very smoothly. It would have been better had we been provided with a small towel so we could handle the saké, as the little bottle got quite hot and napkins are not too thick.

The Tori Kara Age was a real disappointment. While the chicken WAS tender, and it came with a nice creamy sauce, the combination of ingredients was rather weak in terms of how strong the taste was. Nothing had enough presence, but they were too strong to be written off as "subtle." Furthermore, for a breaded chicken item, there was definitely not enough breading, leaving us with a rather unsatisfactory lump of mostly-moist chicken.

Now, we came to Wakamono primarily for the ramen. Osaka's specialty is apparently ramen, so we needed an alternate source for our noodly needs. We felt rather cheerful, having these large, pretty bowls of ramen placed in front of us:

I figured I would first try the broth, as a good broth is the key to a good ramen. Well, the broth was not only slightly disappointing, it was also extremely revolting. A miso broth that doesn't taste like miso is one thing. A miso broth that tastes like salty sesame oil is a whole other ballgame. The shrimp and chicken just tasted bland, while the BBQ pork (char siu / chashu)retained its flavour. A huge letdown.

Finally, we decided to have dessert. Skrud went for the green tea ice cream, which had what looked like some sort of fruit coulis on it, though dorayaki and mandarin oranges (à la Sakura) seem to be the best accompaniments to green tea ice cream. I, on the other hand, decided to try the ginger crème brûlée; I love crème brûlée, but this was under-charred on top, so it didn't have the right crackle, instead crumbling at the touch. Furthermore, since it was inadequately torched, the cream inside was too cold. It gets points for being tasty, but it was still lacking in the quality department.

Overall, it was just alright, and I'd have to give it maybe a 2/5. Pros: Inexpensive, attractive hostess, everything but the ramen was okay. Cons: The ramen sucked, and nothing stood out.

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Blogger DrSkrud said...

I'd go back if the hostess was on the menu.

12:17 AM  

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