In evaluating a property, be it residential or commercial. "Location-Location-Location" is often regarded as one of the prime selection criteria. For most of us Richmond Hillers who lived around the area of Leslie and 16th Avenue. The quiet strip plaza across from Richlane Mall is known as a ‘death trap’ for eating establishments. During the short span of 5 years, we must have observed the closing and changing hands of at least 3-4 eateries. For any new-comer, brave enough to take on this challenging location, quality and type of food offered should be attractive enough and of top-notch quality in order to offset the huge short-fall created by this secluded location.
Keeping in mind of the above, the recent opening of "Okotte Ramen" at this "death spot is enough to arouse my curiosity. This lunch time, with ex-chowhounder skylineR33 living close by, we decided to give the place a try and have a mini-chowmeet there.
Man! What a disappointment! The meal was a disaster of mega-proportion! After a heavenly and memorable meal yesterday, what a sad and cruel way to be brought back down to earth! Next time, for Ramen craving, I’ll just drive an extra 10 minutes to Sansotei on Hwy#7 instead.
Now, a step by step dissection of this culinary disaster.
First off, Okotte follows a "build-your-own" formula to allow patrons in creating their own made-to order noodle creation. Two meats and two veggies per bowl were included in the price. Additional toppings can be added for an addition cost of $1.75 per item.
Now, to the broth…..IMO the most essential component to a bowl of successful Tonkotsu, "Pork broth based" Ramen. In the case of Okotte, the milky looking broth, though has an attractive appearance, was absolutely bland tasting and one dimensional. No lard, a critical element to a tasty Tonkotsu was detected. My request of salt to add to the soup did not help an iota in enhancing the complexity and taste profile of the soup. SkylineR33 also asked for pepper, which we were told they do not have?! Are you kidding me?
Next come the noodles. Both our Soba and Ramen selection were way over-cooked. Somehow, the chef managed to destroy all chewy texture in our carbs?! In my case, the Buckwheat Soba was so soft and borderline mushy, I thought I was eating Vietnamese Pho!
As for the meat. Though they were quite generous in quantity and acceptable in taste. However, due to the broth not being hot enough, the temperature of the protein was COLD to the mouth. The same applied to the semi soft, runny yolk marinated egg. How sad!
In short, this "Chinese" operated, "Japanese based" noodle joint is walking on thin lines and for sure be a candidate for disaster if they continue to follow this current formula. Why the place was packed during lunch time really beats me?!... maybe all "one time" patron like me?