Above Average Ramen at Ramen Misoya

Ramen Misoya
Location
: 646 Queen Street West, Toronto
Websitehttps://www.ramenmisoya.ca/

I don’t need a whole lot to convince me to try a new ramen joint.  Ramen Misoya is a Japanese ramen chain that’s been featured in the Michelin guide, with locations all over the world.

Michelin-featured ramen?  That’s pretty much all I need to hear.  I’m sold.

Ramen Misoya

(Though the last Michelin-adjacent ramen joint that opened in Toronto, Konjiki Ramen, was pretty disappointing.)

I ordered the gold kome special, which is a pork- and miso-based soup that comes with chasu, half an egg, ground pork, and a couple of potato wedges.

Ramen Misoya

It’s a solid bowl of ramen. The broth has a decent amount of complexity; it’s got a porky richness and a nice miso flavour, and it’s livened up by a mild gingery and garlicky bite. The level of salt is a bit too intense, but it’s otherwise above average.

The noodles were also quite satisfying, with a perfect thickness and a nice firm texture.

Ramen Misoya

The add-ins, sadly, were hit-and-miss. The egg was tasty, with a great gooey yolk.  But the chasu was so tough I could barely even bite through it, and had a vaguely gamy flavour.

The potato wedges were just weird; even if these had been perfect I’m not sure they would have worked.  And they were undercooked and crunchy, so they definitely didn’t work.

Eggs Benedict (?) at Smash Kitchen

Smash KitchenLocation: 4261 Highway 7, Unionville
Websitehttp://www.smashkitchen.com/

Is eggs benedict still eggs benedict if you don’t include the hollandaise sauce?  Traditionally, that dish consists of an english muffin topped with meat (usually ham or bacon), a poached egg, and hollandaise.

That’s four things; the hollandaise is 25 percent of the dish.   How far can you change something until it’s no longer that thing?  Is it still spaghetti and meatballs if you replace the tomato sauce with alfredo?  Probably not!

Which is to say that I just ordered the Smash Benedict from Smash Kitchen, and they replaced the hollandaise with gravy.  To be fair, they also have a traditional eggs benedict on the menu, so that does kinda give them license to mess around with it in their other offerings.

The problem is, I missed the hollandaise.  This particular benedict featured an english muffin topped with pulled pork, cheese, the standard poached egg, and the aforementioned gravy.  The pulled pork was tossed in a very vinegary barbecue sauce that, while tasty, absolutely dominated the dish.

A heaping serving of creamy hollandaise might have helped to cut the vinegary sharpness of the pork, but the gravy was completely lost.  It may as well have not even been there.  I had to eat most of this with some hash browns to help mellow out that strong barbecue sauce flavour.

Still, it certainly wasn’t bad, and the crispy fried hash browns were a very tasty accompaniment.  But if I came back, I’d probably just stick with the classic benedict (there was also a crab cake benedict that looked tasty, and yes — that one had hollandaise on it).

Lisa Marie

Lisa Marie - Fried Cornish Hen and Cornbread Waffles
Location: 638 Queen Street West
Website: http://www.fidelgastro.ca/

I’ve never had anything from Fidel Gastro, the food truck that spawned Lisa Marie, but after their outstanding offering at this year’s Burger Day (they served that event’s best burger, in my opinion), I knew that I’d have to check them out sooner or later.

I went for brunch, and while there were a few items that caught my eye, the one I settled on was the fried Cornish hen and cornbread waffles.

I have, sadly, been under the impression up to this point that I didn’t particularly like Cornish hen; the only other time I’ve had it, it was dry, not particularly meaty and, generally speaking, more trouble than it was worth.

Clearly, my first Cornish hen experience was just a sub-par preparation of what can be a tasty dish, as Lisa Marie’s version was the complete opposite: meaty and abundantly juicy, with a really satisfying flavour. I don’t think gamy is the right word to describe it, because it wasn’t that; it was very chickeny.

Yep, chickeny. That’s the kind of quality food writing that you can only find right here.

It also had an amazingly crunchy, perfectly seasoned batter that was fairly close to fried chicken perfection.

It’s the kind of dish that makes you unconsciously nod with approval, as if answering the same unasked question with each bite: “Why yes, it is delicious. Very delicious.”

The cornbread waffles are, I’m pretty sure, just cornbread that’s been cooked in a waffle iron. Whether or not that’s a good thing is up to you; I’m a cornbread fan, so I quite enjoyed it, particularly when drizzled with the provided cup of maple syrup.

I’d say it’s the best version of chicken and waffles I’ve ever had, but that wouldn’t be true; that honour goes to the chicken and waffles at Thomas Keller’s Bouchon in Las Vegas. But second best is nothing to scoff at.

I got it with the duck fat home fries on the side. They were tossed with some kind of grainy mustard, and came with a spicy sauce on the side. They were a bit less crispy than I would like, and definitely weren’t on the level of that amazing fried hen, but they were still pretty good.

Lisa Marie - the restaurant Lisa Marie - the restaurant Lisa Marie - the menu (brunch) Lisa Marie - Fried Cornish Hen and Cornbread Waffles