Sunday, May 31, 2015

New Kitsilano Restaurant: Ramen Danbo Review

Hey everyone, I am back today with another food post, featuring the new Ramen Danbo on West 4th in Kitsilano. Known for their authentic flavors and with over twenty locations in Japan, Ramen Danbo first opened in 2000. I visited their first Canadian location in Vancouver earlier this month, to read more about the restaurant and what I ate, click.......
Ramen Danbo serves up traditional Fukuoka (southern Japan) style ramen, which is much thinner compared to northern style ramen. The tonkotsu broth is prepared using very high heat to extract the most flavors from the pork bones. However, the highlight of this place is definitely the customization options.
When you order your ramen, you have the option of choosing how firm you like your noodles, how thick you like the broth, how much lard you want in the broth, and how spicy you want the broth to be (if you are ordering the Blazing Hot Rekka Ramen). The ramen here ranges from $9.45 to $11.95, which puts the place at a higher price range considering that the servings are smaller and the ramen do not include eggs ($1.50 for one soft-boiled egg).
Blazing Hot Rekka Ramen with Egg
I love anything spicy so of course I opted for the Blazing Hot Rekka Ramen with egg (10x hot, can be customized to your liking). It comes with two slices of cashu-style pork slices, a handful of freshly-chopped scallion (green onion), and a dollop of imported Japanese red pepper.
The eggs were cooked just right, tender but not completely runny. The chashu slices, though, are noticeably smaller and thinner compared to the ones from other ramen restaurants. The flavor is nice and the texture is tender and fatty. I chose "regular" broth thickness and lard-content and I love how flavorful it is without being too thick or rich. My favorite part, though, is definitely the noodles themselves. I asked for "firm" noodles because I love a more al dente texture and they came out so great: chewy, bouncy, but not tough.
The noodles here have the same thickness as the ones from Ramen Butcher, which I did not like at all as the main difference is that the noodles at Danbo are bouncy and chewy instead of limp and soggy like the ones at Ramen Butcher.
Pan-fried Yaki Gyoza
We also tried the gyoza here. The outside is nice and crispy and the inside is soft and meaty, but the flavor is nothing outstanding. So if you don't think a bowl of ramen would be enough, it could make a great side. Additionally, Ramen Danbo offers "kaedama", aka noodle refills ($2 for a full order and $1 for a half order). I think this is a great option, given the fact that the serving here isn't very big.
Interior of Ramen Danbo
Overall, Ramen Danbo offers great textures and authentic flavors. The serving size is a bit small and the cashu is a bit thin. With added toppings, a bowl of ramen here will definitely cost around $3 to $4 more than most other places in Vancouver. However, if you dig a flavorful broth, thinner noodles, and more customization options, this is definitely a place worth checking out!

Ramen Danbo on Urbanspoon