With my love of ramen I ‘m still discovering places and Benkei is one of the Japanese owned and operated ones that I have never tried. With a couple of locations downtown its Japanese owned and operated. This post is a blend of 2 different locations~Thurlow street and there Robson and Denman location.
They have all the usual ramen you would come to expect as well as some house specials like curry ramen. They offer vegetable shoyu as well made with chicken and seafood broth (if you have a seafood allergy don’t come here,the menu says that all the stocks have a bit of seafood broth in them), they also don’t use MSG in there ramen which is a plus.
There is lots of seating at both locations at the Thurlow location they have a big winding bar, the wood walls give a great warmth to the small space to both places I’ve been, I’d say it be nice on a cold rainy night~the perfect night for a bowl of ramen.
Here are a selection of menu items I’ve had so far:
Pork Gyoza $3.75 for 5 large gyoza (Thurlow), Benkei offers 3 different types~pork, shrimp and vegetable, I went with the pork, the filing was flavorful and the wrapper was nice and tender, they were also a great size.
Vegetable Gyoza $3.25 (Robson), not a winner with this one, the filling was completely mushy and not very flavorful so the pork ones are a definite winner over these but then again anything with pork in it is a winner!.
Miso Ramen $8.75 (Thurlow), I can’t say anything bad about this, the broth was flavorful, my noodles were cooked perfectly and the pork was fatty enough without being like bacon and it melted nicely into my soup after letting it sit for 5 minutes or so.
Curry Ramen $7.95 (Robson), this was a first for me, the curry flavor wasn’t too strong but the broth had a thickness to it which made the noodles quite slippery and you really don’t want curry broth splashing around~I took a shot in the eye at one point, this ramen also had chicken in it with baby carrots and some spinach and corn. It was an interesting experience but I think I’ll stick to the broth type soup’s.
At the end of the day Benkei is a nice alternative to hit up for a bowl of MSG free noodles and the gyoza is good, nice alternative to the other noodle houses around.