St. Albert’s Japanese sushi restaurant Yuzen restructures as Menya Yuzen with a focus on ramen. Here’s what you need to know.
Remember a time when you had to wake up at the crack of dawn to be in Yuzen’s parking lot at 11AM on a Saturday for their bowl of ramen? I sure do. They were good times, however sparse due to distance. Yuzen’s ramen has always been popular, so much so that they expanded the Japanese noodle soup to Sunday lunch as well. Last month, Yuzen decided to restructure their restaurant: Menya Yuzen is now focusing solely on ramen, from Wednesday to Sunday.
Originally, they only had five bowls: traditional bowls of shoyu, shio, and miso, a tonkotsu, and tantanmen. Menya Yuzen now serves a staggering 13 bowl menu, albeit they’re a mix of broths. Choose from traditional bowls, tonkotsu mixes, or gyokai mixes. Menus are at the end of the post!
WHAT ON EARTH IS GYOKAI RAMEN? IT’S 100% UMAMI.
I think Menya Yuzen deserves your attention because of their gyokai broth. It’s described as a seafood broth, but it really is fish. (There’s no shrimp for those with shrimp allergies!) One of the reasons why I miss the ramen bowls of Japan is because of that extra funk. That umami, that prominent fermented fish broth. It’s a taste that has been somewhat replaced in Westernized bowls by smoked meat or bacon, or taken out entirely. Edmonton bowls are noticeably porky, or more recently chicken-based (or paitan). There’s nothing wrong with that at all. I just miss that funk!
Enough about the broth. Noodles come in two varieties: thin or thick. The thin ones are wavy with a good chew to them. The thick ones are flatter and are definitely firmer for those who love that style. To each their own, I’ll be ordering based on my mood. Both are fantastic.
ADD ANOTHER COMPLEXITY TO YOUR BOWL: MAYU (BLACK GARLIC OIL) OR PRESSED GARLIC.
Toppings are sparse at Menya Yuzen. Bowls that come with char siu (sliced, rolled pork belly) come with only one piece. Different bowls have different toppings, some have bamboo shoots. Most come with nori. My choice is always to add at least an ajitsuke tamago (soft boiled egg), although they’re always a touch overcooked and could use a stronger marinade. I don’t mind though, it’s a necessity to me. Priced higher than most ramen shops, additional toppings can run you upwards to $15.
MENYA YUZEN IS NOW OPEN WEDNESDAY TO SUNDAY. 11AM-2PM and 5PM-9PM.
Menya Yuzen focuses on ramen but sashimi and other appetizers are also available to order. For those wondering about their sushi menu, you’ll have to hold out for their second location. Saturday lunch is definitely their busiest until customers realize their expanded hours. I’d recommend coming for dinner. My favourite so far: Gyokai Tonkotsu. Give Menya Yuzen a try and let me know what you think!
127 – 1 Hebert Road (St. Albert)