G-MEN Ramen Noodle Shop – Review 3

Restaurant: G-MEN Ramen Shop – Restaurant Review 3
Cuisine: Japanese/Ramen
Last dined: October 30, 09
Location: Richmond, BC
Address: #1101-3778 Sexsmith Road
Price Range: $10-20

1: Poor 2: OK 3: Good 4: Very good 5: Excellent 6: Tres Excellent!!

Food: 4.5 (went down ½ a point since they changed the seaweed that comes with ramen)
Service: 2
Ambiance: 3
Overall: 4.5
Additional comments:

  • Specializes in big bowls of authentic Japanese ramen noodles
  • Serves mini donburis and gyozas as appetizers
  • Can’t select richness of brother/fattiness of BBQ pork
  • Small/limited menu
  • Not homemade noodles
  • Started by owners of Gyoza King Chicco Cafe & Naan Chu,
  • Japanese servers, Japanese chefs, popular to Japanese diners
  • Closed on Tuesday and Wednesday
  • Line-ups, whole party must be in attendance in order to be seated
  • Busy/crowded all the time
  • Extra charge for green tea
  • Free parking

**Recommendation: Tonkotsu Miso Ramen (only served at dinner), Wasabi Nori Ontama Mini Don, half cooked free-range egg (Ajitama), Special ToriGara Shoyu Ramen

This was my 3rd time at G-Men Ramen Noodle Shop. I want to try everything on the menu. It’s one of those restaurants where the menu is small, so it’s possible…and I’m determined. I want to give the best recommendations possible.

I came for lunch and tried the Natto set. My friend ordered the Special ToriGara Shoyu Ramen and I was really disappointed because they changed the seaweed that comes with their ramen. The waitress said the quality of the shredded ones they used to use were no longer good…so they decided to switch brands. I think they should just find a new supplier and stick to the shredded kind because it tastes so much better.

Added note: In my 1st restaurant review for G-Men Ramen Noodle Shop I said that it was better than Kintaro’s. However I would like to explain this is a bit. It’s not necessarily better than Kintaros, but it’s different. Kintaro’s is a much richer broth (even their light broth is richer than the one here). Kintaro’s is more Japanese whereas G-Men is still Japanese, but the flavours are somewhat catered to Chinese tastes. I think older Chinese people will like G-Men better, but younger people may like Kintaro’s better.

My 1st restaurant review for G-Men Ramen Noodle Shop

My 2nd restaurant review for G-Men Ramen Noodle Shop


On the table:

  • Natto Ontama Tofu Teishoku Set 2/6
    • Fermented soy bean, half cooked free range egg, & tofu on rice $7.50 (I think it was $7 or $7.50)
    • Natto: is a fermented soy beans with bacillus subtilis, which is a good for you bacteria. This is the ingredient that causes the natto to be super slimy. When yo u pick it up it creates spider web strings and is super sticky. It’s a traditional Japanese food that is commonly eaten for breakfast on top of rice and it carries several health benefits.
    • I never thought I would meet a Japanese food I didn’t like…ok I didn’t NOT like the natto, but I wouldn’t order it again. If it was there I might eat it, but I would go for a lot. It was different. It’s one of those traditional Japanese foods that Japanese people grow up with…it’s definitely an acquired dish and taste.
    • Natto is super slimy and the texture of thick mucus. It tastes like your eating smoky beans coated in mucus. Now doesn’t that sound delish!? It’s stringy, sticky and the slimiest thing I’ve eaten to date. It’s less starchy than beans, not really salty, but almost h as a hickory smoked taste. The taste wasn’t bad, surprisingly bland, but the texture was not for me. Every time the natto touched my lips it left a coating of slime and left them really sticky.
  • How to eat Natto Ontama Tofu Teishoku Set?

 

    • I felt like such a rookie when they brought me my natto set. I saw all these small dishes and had no idea how to eat it. I actually had to call one of the Japanese waitresses over to teach me how to eat it. I wanted to do it right. There was some translation issues and it’s not like she sat beside me coaching me so I didn’t do it exactly right. Too bad, because I don’t know if there will be a next time. I was like a white person going to Chinese hot pot for the first time…what do you do? Toss everything in? Eat in separately? Where do I start? And what do all these sauces go with? There were just so many components.
    • Step 1: Toss in the small dish of green onions and mustard. Add soy sauce if you want
    • Step 2: Mix it thoroughly. The green onions and mustard helped break it up for me. It cut the sliminess a bit and brightened up the flavour.
    • Step 3: After some research, you’re actually supposed to add the natto and egg on top of the rice. I reversed it. Anyways, I didn’t like that the rice wasn’t premium sushi rice. They gave you a huge bowl of it and it’s still sticky, but it tastes better when they use it for their mini donburi. However the egg is delicious. It’s one of my favourite things here because they make it perfectly. It’s really half cooked and the yolk makes a great sauce combined with the shoyu sauce it’s served with. Shoyu is a Japanese soy sauce that is sweeter than regular soy sauce. This side dish was pretty much the only thing giving my meal flavour.
    • Step 4: Mix again if you wish…as little or as much as you want. At this point I definitely over mixed mine. You’re actually supposed to eat it over a bed of rice. Mine looks pretty gross – it was almost watery I had no idea what I was doing.
    • Step 5: Take the soy sauce bottle in the middle of the tray and pour it onto the tofu until desired. Eat with rice or in between your meal. This was a chilled soft tofu served with bonito flakes (dried and smoked fish) on top.
    • Step 6: Have the miso soup to start or drink it in between your meal. I really like their miso soup. I would give this 4/6. It has real tofu in it and real soy bean skins. It’s not the powdered instant stuff.
    • It was almost a vegetarian dish, except for the bonito (dried fish) flakes. I wanted some meat or gravy or something with more flavour and texture. Everything just felt mushy and slimy – the tofu, the beans, the egg. I wanted texture, something crunchy or something I couldn’t swallow without chewing. But it is a for breakfast so it’s not meant to be hearty or saucy. If they made my recommendations it wouldn’t be authentic even though it would probably taste better.
  • * Special ToriGara Shoyu Ramen 4.5/6
    • Authentic light “torigara” chicken soup thin noodle seasoned with housemade shoyu flavour, topped with BBQ pork, half ajitama (egg), yuzu (citrus Japanese fruit similar to tangerine), seaweed, black wood ear mushroom and green onion. $8.50
    • I took away one of the stars. Although this would be the thing to order if you’re coming for lunch. If you look at my review #2I gave it a 5.5/6, but for some reason it didn’t taste as good this time. Part of the reason is because they changed their seaweed to those rectangular ones. This means you get less and you can’t get seaweed in every bite because there’s only two big pieces. It’s not as good because you can’t disperse it and they’re chewier. Even they know it’s not as good. If they’re going to downgrade their seaweed they need to compensate somewhere else. I miss the shredded seaweed.
    • It’s still good and I would still order it if I was coming for lunch, but I just don’t crave it anymore. It’s a soy based soup and it’s sweeter and more flavourful than the other ramen bowl they offer at lunch – the ToriGara Shio Ramen. Unlike Kintaro’s you can’t select the richness of your broth, or the fattiness of your BBQ pork; but I think this Shoyu broth in particular tastes better than Kintaro’s.

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13 Comments

  • Daniel S. says:

    There's a Japanese food court near my work that serves natto. I tried it once and found it to be very, um, interesting =). The taste was fine, but the texture was, as you said, slimy. The chilled tofu with bonito flakes looks very good, and so does the shoyu ramen. Nice write-up.

  • KimHo says:

    I guess this is a case of acquired taste. I am willing to give it a try but not in a hurry, hehehehe

  • schtest says:

    I'm really curious as to how they make the Ajitama. Also, any ideas where to buy the noodles??

  • Brian says:

    Any ideas as to where these ramen shops buy their noodles from?

  • nicole says:

    I've heard of natto but haven't tried it. I'm hesitant to use the word "yet" haha because I have a feeling I might not like it. As you said, it definitely seems like an acquired thing growing up in Japan so us "westerners" probably won't be so keen on the texture and the complicated preparation!

    GREAT DESCRIPTION BTW. "Smoky beans covered in mucus" MMmmmmmm!! Thanks for that Mijune, SO HELPFUL.

    hahahahaa *gag* but kudos to you for trying it! you're such a trooper foodie.

    The tofu with the squid and bonito flakes looked good though! I love agedashi tofu or anything tofu so that's right up my alley! and I will have to try that Tonkatsu Miso Ramen, it sounds so good! I haven't had ramen in awhile since the last time I kind of OD'ed and ate to much, then I couldn't have it for a long time after that LOL way to go me.

  • Follow Me Foodie says:

    I'm not sure where to buy the ramen noodles they use…but I know you can buy fresh ramen noodles at Toko Foods. See my review for Toko foods here: http://tinyurl.com/yeg989n

    Hope that helps 🙂

  • Follow Me Foodie says:

    LOL Nicole! Yeah if you think you might now like it I would order it with 4 people so you can do it as an appie and everyone can try it…like a sample. But then again you have to be with willing people.

    The tofu was really good! Really simple, but I like tofu.

    You know what food makes me not want it for a long time…All you can sushi..a la carte i love sushi…but all you can eat anything is sickening…and Mexican food…can't do that for more than 2 days.

  • nicole says:

    Yeah if I use your description of Natto, I will probably have very few willing people and a LOT of reluctant people!

    I like tofu too. Have you been to Noodlebox on West 4th in Kitsilano? I was just there tonight, I had their "Noodle Box Chili Plum" (my usual) with tofu and it's SO GOOD. I'd love for you to do a review of that place! I still have yet to try all the other dishes too but somehow I don't think you can go wrong, that place was packed tonight! Big portions (you also have the option of split box where they give you half the portion to eat now and a take-out box with re-heating instructions to eat the other half later – so convenient and smart!) and just straight up good food. I also love how they determine the level of spiciness. It's not your typical gwai lo idea of "spicy", I actually have to get the "medium-hot" because anything above that can get pretty crazy. Actually, my friend got extra hot and he was downing glasses of water like his life depended on it hahaha I guess I should have warned him but I was curious to see just how spicy their dishes could get!

    I agree about the AYCE, ruins the food. Speaking of sushi, I'm totally craving it right now.

  • Follow Me Foodie says:

    Oooohhh Noodle Box sounds interesting. I like your "gwai lo" description by the way! I like spicy too, so I'll take your word on getting medium-hot. I know you can handle spicy because you like Thai food. I've totally trained my taste buds and my tolerance is pretty high…I ate a lot of Indian food with Indian people…now that was spicy…to the point where I'm tearing and my nose is watery. I can't wait to check out Noodle Box! Any particular box I should be ordering? Or particular sauces that are good? Thanks Nicole!

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