647 476 3833 | $9 Bowls + Extras
It’s noon, your office is freezing, you have a ton of noodle options around, but you want THE bowl of noodles. You turn to a coworker, your go-to-foodie, looking for a nugget of wisdom. She tells you, “if it’s ramen you crave, Sansotei’s the place”. Jovial with this surefire recommendation, you race to the elevator, bust out the doors of your building, and make a beeline to 179 Dundas West.
Your problem? You’re already too late. There’s a huge line, it doesn’t move particularly fast, and you’re going to freeze your ass off outside.
Moral of the story: you can’t just show up here. I know you’ve heard it’s awesome, but so has everyone else, so plan ahead, leave early, and you too can enjoy a bowl of warm goodness.
OK, enough with the narrative, let’s talk food. The menu is very focused on a few key variations of ramen. Wikipedia has a great description of all four: shio (salty), shoya (soy sauce), miso, and tonkotsu (pork bone). With each one of these you can add some extra egg, pork belly, veggies if you want to pack your soup with even more goodies. In addition to ramen, Sansotei also offers some sides like seaweed salad, gyoza, and a couple rice dishes.
I’m a big fan of seaweed salads, so we started with the one above. It should be exactly what you’re looking for: fresh, clean, and a tiny bit chewy for texture.
While Sansotei is known for the Tonkotsu ramen more than any other, I figured I might as well order another kind just for variety. Enter Miso (above).
Miso ramen originated in Hokkaido, Japan (see Bourdain video above for more) and has the familiar taste you’ve come to love, just amped up and combined with complimentary flavours like pork, green onion and corn (generally not found in other ramens). I was a big fan of the bowl myself: noodles had great chewy texture, the broth perfectly salty, and the portion was satisfying.
I’m no ramen connoisseur, but I very much enjoyed these.
For the hell of it, I also ordered gyoza, and found them to be steaming hot inside their thin crispy noodle exterior and full of pork flavour.
Service and Ambience
Once you step inside the restaurant space, you realize why there’s a line outside: it’s tiny; my best guess is around 20-25 seats max. While a hole in the wall, the interior’s very unique with an intricate rock wall lit from above and a giant rope that looks to have once been used to secure large ships to shore.
From a service perspective, the first thing to know is that you’ll be given a number when standing in line. Servers will pop out from the restaurant and call you in from the cold when it’s your turn for soup.
Once inside, best to ask your server to help you understand what comes in each ramen, as the menu isn’t very detailed in that regard. Your server may not have an awesome command of the English language, but she’ll do her best with a smile on her face, and you’ll eventually be able to make an informed choice.
I waited in line for about 15 minutes, and thought the meal definitely justified it. The purpose for your visit is straightforward, the menu is good value, and if you’re informed enough to arrive early, I’m certain you’ll have a pleasurable experience. Enjoy!
Posted by: Jacob, Visited Nov 1, 2012