Recommendations for Shibuyatei often come with a warning: get there early. Located on a bustling strip off Bridgeport Road, the humble ramen shop – a two-man operation – dishes out only 20 bowls of ramen (larmen, as they call it) for lunch and dinner before they call it a day. When asked why it’s so scarce, chef Takeo Sato’s answer is simple and to the point: “The broth is limited”.
Unlike the rich, opaque, deep-flavoured, super fatty broths set on rolling boil for hours (ie. the sort ladled out in the West End), chef Sato’s is delicately light and clear with a hint of umami awesomeness that subtly ties the mound of wavy noodles, lean pork slices, bean sprouts, bamboo shoots, corn, scallions and a sheet of nori together. It’s exquisite stuff, really standing apart from the typical Vancouver ramen experience.
I enthusiastically suggest the shio (salt) charsu larmen, a minimal throwback to the fundamentals of “Tokyo style” ramen and one of Japan’s oldest ways to experience the staple. While chef Sato found his glory in Japan serving this distinct, purist style, he’s also known for his plump, perfectly cooked gyoza, so make sure to save room for some, especially his signature scallop-filled beauties.
Shibuyatei | 2971 Sexsmith Rd. | Richmond, BC | 11:30am to 2pm, 5pm to 9pm