The new Yuki Ramen brightens up the grim Faubourg food fair with homemade flair
I’ll admit it, I hadn’t been inside the Faubourg since my years as an undergrad, when Hot & Spicy was my preferred purveyor of caramel beef and other sugary meats before embarking on a long school-skipping session involving whatever was playing at the dearly departed Faubourg cinemas (to give you an idea, I think the last thing I saw there was Pulp Fiction). But some murmurings around town told me that a hand-pulled ramen place had just opened up – and it was rather authentic and more importantly, tasty, unlike a few disappointments I’ve had with Ichiban Ramen across the street.
It’s important to note here that I just returned from an extended stay in Vancouver, where lineups for purveyors of the most delicious ramen of all, tonkotsu, are around the block. But comparing East Coast ramen, gyoza, izakaya, sushi or any other Japanese foodstuffs is a fool’s errand, I know. Anyway, Yuki Ramen, the sweet little noodle shop that just opened three weeks ago, is actually run by a team from Taiwan who say that their noodles are "Chinese-style" ramen (not tonkotsu, which are fried in shoyu).
This is serious stuff. The little spot sure brightens up the (still grim) surroundings of the Faubourg food fair with a menu entirely comprised of various kinds of ramen: vegetarian, seafood, chicken, beef ramen soup, ground pork sauté or sliced barbeque pork with soy sauce on dry noodles or in beef bone soup.
My partner and I ordered the latter and were treated to simple ramen near-perfection. A deep meat broth, not too salty or full of five-spice, covered the noodles and was studded with our meat of choice – in my case slightly bland but moist sliced barbeque pork. The dish was garnished liberally with green onions and sautéed rapini as well as red fried onions and a side of something pickled (which turned out to be potatoes), grated thin like coleslaw – the perfect garnish for cutting through the richness of the soup.
The noodles themselves were texturally superior to almost all I’ve had – bouncy, springy, chewy and wheaty, they belied the miracle of their making in the window of the shop (it’s fun to watch and I still can’t figure out how they do it). I’ve seen hand-pulled noodles before, but not for ramen, which are a delicate pasta, round in diameter (rather than flat like the dried, packaged sort) – they’re a mystery and a fascination.
Next up: Now that I have reason to stop by the Faubourg, the Taiwanese tea place beckons…
Lunch for two, before tip, taxes and beverages: $15-$20 (cash only)
In the Faubourg Ste-Catherine (1616 Ste-Catherine W.)