Lately we’ve been on a crazy ramen crawl, we’re ladies of cravings and this month it has been all about ramen. And no, we don’t mean those dinky little 1$ packages sold to poor university students to fill their empty belly and placate their thinning wallets, we mean real Japanese ramen. We first fell in love with ramen when we had it at Imadake, an izakaya that we have frequented for its tasty small plates, sake bombs, as well as its delicious ramen.
At the time we didn’t realize that Imadake served some of the best ramen in the city. We took it for granted and used this ramen as a standard to measure all other ramen restaurants. Imadake gave us the choice of miso or original broth, you chose your meat and you could add that perfectly soft boiled egg, green onions, bean sprouts, corn or nori (seaweed). We fell in love with their rare beef ramen, more so than their traditional pork belly ramen. Sweet Pea swears by their mushroom ramen, but we haven’t tried it yet!
Imagine our glee when we found out that Imadake was opening a ramen restaurant, allowing them to focus on perfecting their ramen soup, something that Imadake, with their vast menu and nightlife, couldn’t really do. Hence the birth of Yokato Yokabai, which is our new favourite spot for ramen. We had it twice just last week, that’s how hooked we are! They specialize in authentic Hakata Tonkotsu style ramen, a delicacy that you won’t be able to resist – we sure can’t!
Yokato Yokabai is one of the few places in Montreal that delivers authentic tonkotsu ramen. Everything is made in house, including the ramen noodles, with no MSG or fillers. Pork bones are broken to expose the marrow and sit simmering for 12 hours where the broth is stirred, and watched carefully so it does not burn. The broth is beautifully thickened, and brought to a gorgeous creamy colour without starch or additives. If the colour seems strange and unlike other ramen broths, it’s because the ramen broth at Yokato Yasobai is the tonkotsu broth which is both superior and so rare.
But let’s relax and discuss the appetizers at Yokato Yokabai, there are a few, and they go well with the ramen. The gobo is Japanese burdock root that is made into fries that are served with a spicy mayo, tasty and crunchier than French fries, it was good but our least favorite appetizer. The Chasu-Don was our favourite appetizer, it’s basically a pork poke bowl. This BBQ pork belly is prepared to perfection, and piled into a bowl with rice, a marinated soft boiled egg, shredded nori, green onions and the usual mix of soy sauce, ginger, and Japanese seasonings.
The Chasu-Don at Yokato Yokabai is definitely their best appetizer, and that’s saying something because we’re always fans of Japanese karaage. Deep fried chicken is not only a southern treat, the Japanese know a thing or two about deep fried chicken too aka karaage. At Yokato Yokabai it is served with a sesame ginger sauce that gives it a little kick. But the proof of the pudding is in the eating, and if the pudding is ramen, we assure you that that is where the magic happens, and that’s why we instantly start salivating when we think of Yokato Yokabai.
In the end, we came for the ramen. The trifecta of ramen evaluation is the broth-noodles-meat and god dammit they perfected it! We chose the kara-miso broth which is the tonkotsu broth but spicier, you could choose your saltiness (less, normal, more) which we kept at normal, and you could take away or add more green onions, obviously we added. Extra meat, noodles, seaweed or that perfect soft boiled egg is an additional cost. But their ramen automatically comes with 1 piece of nori and half an egg.
Sweet Pea ordered the tonkotsu chicken which is lighter than the pork ramen, it was very good, they actually made chicken appealing, but nothing compares to the pork ramen. The pork is fatty, but don’t let it turn you off because the fat is sweet and half melts into the hot broth. Trust us, it’s like no ramen that you’ve ever tasted in Montreal, we dare you to recommend a better ramen restaurant! P’tit Soeur who doesn’t even like ramen fell in love with the tonkotsu broth at Yokato Yokabai, if they can convert that little brat, they can convert anyone!
Why the sudden ramen craze and love? That’s thanks to Sweet Pea’s beau, Mr. Ramen himself, he’s the ramen slut who introduced us to this little gem, and he promises that he has a few more tricks up his sleeve. He’s been on a ramen kick lately and he’s taken us along for the ride – and what a fun ride it’s been! If Sweet Pea and Mr. Ramen don’t work out, Diva #1 is still going for ramen with him, sorry Sweet Pea, you wanted your best friend and your boyfriend to get along, right?
Our Rating: Always on Thursday
Tagged: 4185 Drolet, Chasu-Don, Chicken, gobo, H2W 2L5, Imadake Montreal, Imadake ramen, Kara-Miso pork, Karaage, Montreal, Montreal Ramen, Montreal Restaurant, Plateau, Plateau Restaurant, Pork, Tonkotsu, Tonkotsu pork, Tonkotsu ramen, Yokato Yokabai, Yokato Yokabai Montreal, Yokato Yokabai tonkotsu