Ogenki Ramen - Main Street

Ramen shops have really become popular in Vancouver in recent years, which is why it’s a little surprising to find such a shortage of them along the Main Street corridor. We’ve got all sorts of other cafes and restaurants up and down Main Street and while some of the sushi restaurants serve ramen, they’re not really ramen shops.

So, I got pretty stoked when I saw that a ramen restaurant was opening next door to Ogenki Sushi at 4342 Main Street. And then, less than a week later, I noticed that they opened the doors… to Ogenki Ramen. The two restaurants are directly linked — there’s even a pass-through door inside — but they have separate kitchens and separate menus.

Hugging Salt and Pepper Shakers

I’ve only had a sub-par experience at Ogenki Sushi in the past, but I was hoping that the people running the ramen side of the business would offer the same kind of dedication to the craft as Brittany Murphy. The cute “hugging’ salt and pepper shakers were a nice touch, as was the mostly traditional wooden-looking interior.

The menu was more or less what I expected to find from a ramen shop, but I was a little saddened to see the lack of a Shio Ramen option. That’s usually my go-to broth. As expected, there are additional toppings (like extra noodles, green onion, corn, agitama boiled egg, etc.) and some appetizers (gyoza, chicken karaage, edamame, etc.).

Spicy Tan Tan Men Noodles

Taking a stroll off the beaten path, Susanne decided to go with the Spicy Tan Tan Men in a Miso Broth. This is rather unconventional for ramen and it’s even less conventional than what you’d find at Motomachi Shokudo. Unfortunately for the spicy fans in the audience, this broth wasn’t all that spicy at all; I tasted more of the peanut than anything else.

Tonkotsu Ramen

In lieu of my usual Shio Ramen, I opted for the Tonkotsu Ramen (I usually spell it tonkatsu, but tonkotsu is acceptable too meaning pork bone, not to be confused with a tonkatsu breaded pork cutlet). The good news is that it came with quite a few different toppings, like the nori, boiled egg, and kikurage black wood ear mushroom. The bad news is that I only got a single slice of chashu (BBQ pork). What’s up with that?

The broth wasn’t particularly rich and flavorful, nor did the noodles have the same kind of chewy “bounce” that you’d like to see from “al dente” ramen noodles. (And yes, I realize I just combined an Italian term with Japanese cuisine.)

Green Ramen Noodles

What’s interesting is that I was served green ramen noodles. There’s a $1.50 option for spinach noodles, but I don’t think that’s what I got. It’s also too bad that Ogenki Ramen seems to lack in the usual condiments, like togarashi and garlic. They’re mainstays at a place like Benkei Ramen, so Ogenki should have followed suit.

At the end of the day, I’m a little disappointed with Ogenki Ramen. But given the lacklustre experience I had with Ogenki Sushi, I really shouldn’t have been all that surprised. The food is okay, but it doesn’t compare to a Kintaro Ramen or Hokkaido Ramen Santouka.

Ogenki Ramen on Urbanspoon