280 Elgin St., Ottawa – Ginza Ramen
Date of Visit: January, 2016
Ginza Ramen has two locations in Ottawa: One on Elgin, downtown, and the other out on Somerset Street West. I went to the one on Elgin and enjoyed a very nice lunch…
The Elgin Street place is quite small, seating only 30 or so, including the chairs at the sushi bar. It is very bright and airy with modern décor and plain furnishings. There was pop music playing a little too loud for my taste, but the single television evident was tuned to the food network, which I rather liked. My server, a very pretty and friendly young woman, was very helpful and efficient.
Ginza describes itself as being a ‘Ramen, Sushi and Sake Bar’ (it is fully licensed) and they offer Asian and Fusion cuisine. Many of the Ramen bowls they offer look quite interesting with all sorts of topping combinations but I was more interested in the Appetizers, of which there is a pretty decent selection. Beyond this, there are quite a number of sushi rolls available and one can also sit at the bar and order Omakase Sashimi and Sushi, if desired.
Miso soup – This consisted of the fairly standard tofu, scallion and Wakame in a nice broth with miso. To be honest, I couldn’t detect any smoky bonito taste to the broth so I am not sure if it was the traditional dashi, or not, but it was rich and good and the whole production was very nice. I gave it a 4 out of 5.
Tai Sashimi and Unagi Sushi
Tai is Red Snapper, and this was one of the nicest sashimi offerings I have ever had. The flesh of the Tai was fibrously firm and had a lovey sweet sea flavor that was succulent in an almost sparkly sort of way. I found that a tiny dot of wasabi went well but that soy was a bit too much. I really enjoyed this and rated it a 5 out of 5.
The Unagi (or grilled eel), was also very nice. The flesh had a wonderfully unctious quality like well cooked pork-belly and the sweet richness was enhanced by the narrow nori belt. I gave this a 4 out of 5.
Deep fried Squid legs – This was excellent. There were several legs and they had merely been dusted with flour rather than being battered, as I expected. They were juicy and chewy to just the right degree. The wasabi mayo was pleasant enough (if a bit too sweet) but, while I may have liked it elsewhere I didn’t care for it in this pairing and I just used a little soy. Even so, I thought this deserved a 5 out of 5.
Chicken Gyoza – I am often disappointed by the dumplings in Japanese restaurants but these were probably the best Gyoza I have ever been served. I would have preferred pork rather than chicken, as it always seems a little bland when minced, but the end result here was terrific with the sweet soy and chili dipping sauce. I rated these at a 5 out of 5.
Ginza Ramen is not a high-end Japanese restaurant at all. Indeed it strikes me as more the sort of place for going late in the evening after having beers elsewhere. It has had a few negative reviews I’ve noted, but the meal I ate was very well prepared, the service good, and the prices very reasonable. I gave the place a 4 out of 5.