I’m slowly making my way to all the ramen places in Calgary. Seems like there are so many new ones opening up, it’s hard to keep up. I’ve tried the main players so I decided to check out something new – Ikemen Ramen Bar. It’s been open for a couple months now (opened May 2015) and what sets them apart from their competitors is that they specialize in using chicken (paitan) broth.
It was a rainy, dreary Friday evening when I got dropped off so the patio wasn’t set up. Seems like every place in Calgary has a patio!
The inside is sleek, modern and spacious with a ramen bar set up both front and back of the house for solo diners. Ramen places are the beeeeest when it’s just you. I grabbed a seat up front so I could people watch.
Ikemen can fit 28 people which is quite spacious for a ramen joint. The waitresses were friendly and attentive for the most part but I had a bit of trouble getting their attention at the end of my meal so that I could pay and leave. Other than that, service was good.
Hours are pretty decent. Open every day!
The menu is short and sweet. They have two standard ramen options (shio and miso) but the rest are very “fusion” (green curry, roasted tomato and mushroom). Those ones are pricey ($13.95 to $14.95)! They also have cold ramen, which is harder to find in this area of Canada.
They also do sushi and sashimi. The only thing that caught my eye was poke!
Tuna poke ($8.00)
You have the option of salmon or tuna poke. I went with the latter. This isn’t your Hawaiian style poke (probably one of my favourite things to eat in the world) but if you don’t think about that, it was nicely done. The creamy avocado, red onions and nori complemented the tuna well.
Miso ramen ($11.95)
Miso, soft boiled egg, cabbage, garlic chips, sesame seed, kale and char siu. I went with the option to make my broth spicy ($1.00 extra) but it didn’t add much. For me, the broth was pretty mundane and lacked any real depth and complexity. The noodles had a nice chewy bite to them but my favourite item was the chicken. Incredibly tender, well seasoned and flavourful. I would eat the chicken on it’s own.
Verdict? With stiff competition from their fellow Kensington ramen neighbours (Muku and Menyatai), Ikemen is in a tough boat. They’re worth a try if you’re a ramen lover but if you’re any bit of a ramen purists/traditionalist like I am, the contest isn’t close. The quality, consistency and price of Muku and Menyatai are hands down better.
Ikemen Ramen Bar
217 – 10 Street NW