First Look: Sansotei Ramen, the latest player in Toronto’s Japanese noodle scene
By Gizelle Lau
Sansotei’s tonkotsu ramen (Images: Gizelle Lau)
Toronto’s ramen scene is getting serious. First there was Aji Sai and Kenzo, then Guu and Kinton Ramen. Joining the fray any day now will be Momofuku Noodle Bar, hailing from NYC, and Raijin, representing Vancouver. And it would be amiss to overlook Sansotei Ramen, which nearly slipped under the radar, having opened a few weeks ago to little fanfare or announcement (we blame TIFF).
Located near Dundas and Chestnut, in what’s quickly becoming a mini Japan-Korea town, Sansotei Ramen was opened by Michael Zhang and his wife Chigusa. With eight years in the food industry behind them, the couple traveled to Chigusa’s native home of Japan earlier this year, and Zhang took the chance to visit Yamato Ramen School. Returning to Toronto, Zhang began to search for a space, and in June he took over an old Vietnamese restaurant at 179 Dundas Street.
The small restaurant, designed by J. Cho Design (Dazzling Modern Restaurant & Bar, Pizza Rustica) is meant to balance modern and traditional notions of a ramen shop. The space features bamboo banquettes and tables, with a thin stone tile wall and a thick knot of sailor’s rope hanging above for an organic feel.
The menu is simple, with five kinds of ramen, including the signature tonkotsu ($9.25): a Hakata-style pork ramen broth simmered overnight to the right concentration, with noodles, from Zhang’s own recipe, made with high-protein flour. The dish is topped with slow-cooked pork belly, an egg and veggies.
Other ramen options consist of miso ($9.50), shio ($8.90), tonkotsu shoyu ($8.90) and a chilled ramen ($8.25). Side dishes include edamame ($3), gyoza ($4.50) and deep fried chicken ($4.50). To finish, there’s mochi ice cream ($3 for two pieces), with flavours like red bean and chocolate.
Sansotei Ramen, 179 Dundas St. W., 647-748-3833
Due to an editing error, a previous version of this article incorrectly stated that ramen noodles are yellow due to the presence of eggs. In fact, ramen noodles are usually egg-free, but still possess yellow colouring due to the alkaline water used to make them.