Sunday, March 22, 2015

The Ramen Butcher

I came to The Ramen Butcher three times and only got a seat the third time. The line ups were crazy during the first two times we went, and unfortunately, we were queueing behind the lineup cut off point both times.The first two rejections certainly accumulated more anticipation so I insisted to go again despite the couple mediocre reviews I heard among friends. I was so determined. 

So we came again on a weekeday evening and the line wasn't too bad. We were seated perhaps only after 5 mins of standing in line (outside, in the cold). 

I've already decided what I wanted to order while standing outside and drooling at their display menu. I wanted the BLACK. I loved the Tonkotsu Black ramen from Jinya and expected similar quality.

The interior was not bad - comfortable and modern. All these new ramen  joints no longer look like how ramen restaurants used to look like in the old days. Only not too far back, people were still confined in the idea that, a Japanese restaurant must be decorated a certain conventional way - when you walk in - you know they sell California Rolls and Terriyaki Chicken Don. I love how these new food places in Vancouver are no longer restrained by these older interior ideas and their designs have becoming more liberated and modern; even some family style Chinese restaurants are breaking away from the usual Chinese restaurant appeal.

Now, the food. So we ordered the Tonkotsu Black and the Green, with a side dish of their cheese gyoza. 

The Black ramen consists of all the usual - ajitsuke egg, fungus, some pickled ginger, and chashu. We had a choice whether to have lean cut or fat cut. I picked the fat cut thinking it would be chashu with a bit of fat, while lean is completely lean.

It was my mistake. I was so wrong - the chashu came out to be entirely a fat piece of fat. It was so fat that I couldn't even take more than one bite. So my only bite on the chashu was not as horrifying as I imagined it would be. It was fatty but not greasy. Oil did not spilled in my mouth like there's no tomorrow. But I didn't wanna taste it again.

The broth was rich and flavorful with dimensions. I could taste the different layers of texture in the soup - thick, clear, and even jelly like. However, I do get this bitter after-taste, not sure if it was just me though.

Overall, I can't say this is my favorite but it's not bad. One thing scary for restaurants to have an exact same item with their competitor (in this case, Jinya), is that, you need to know for sureeeeeeee that yours is better. Not just on par, but BETTER. In Ramen Butcher's case, I personally prefer Jinya's Black ramen a lot more. I don't think Butcher's is better, or even on par, sadly :(

The Green tasted better than the Black, I think. It was basil based and a little lighter than the Black broth. I'd recommend this one if you like basil flavored foods :) 

There's really nothing much I can say about the cheese gyoza. It wasn't some extraordinary culinary creation - just gyoza with cheese melted on top. Nothing fancy but nothing bad. It was an expected taste, however, I did wish to be pleasantly surprised.

Overall, I think Ramen Butcher isn't as bad as what its review suggests. If it's located closer to home, I'd be a regular. But it certainly is not a place I'd return to. If I have to drive to downtown for ramen, I'd pick Jinya.

Ramen Butcher on Urbanspoon


  1. Great to see you putting up a food blog Angela! Haven't tried this one since moving back to the west coast but it is on the list... Just glad that they have Jinya down in Seattle :)

    1. I didn't know there's Jinya in Seattle too ! Is that where you are now ? We were planning to go see sakuras at Washington U. , is it worth it :D ?


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