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38 Seat ‘Ramen Gojiro’ Joint Gets Set To Launch This Week At Dunsmuir & Richards

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The Menya Kouji Group is opening another ramen joint in Vancouver, this time on the northwest corner of Dunsmuir and Richards. The company, which also owns The Ramen Butcher in Chinatown (and over 150 ramen restaurants in Japan), hopes to launch the new 1,300 sqft spot, dubbed Ramen Gojiro, tomorrow (Wednesday, Feb. 24). Managing director Kaito Kaneyoshi invited me down for the staff and friends and family tasting on Saturday. I skipped breakfast to be ready.

It’s a corner location (501 Dunsmuir, to be exact), with awning branding that you can’t see from the sidewalk. I imagine word will spread easily enough, as the surrounding area is a haunt of hungry international students on a budget. Though the windows were still papered up on the weekend, the interior of the 38 seater was nailing the look and feel of the milieu: tight, busy, loud and aromatic with a whole lot of slurping going on. Though the finishing touches of construction were still underway, the cooks in the open kitchen (including an exec flown in from HQ in Japan) were hard at it, bowling training noodles for all assembled.

Though I’m a huge fan of The Ramen Butcher (and so, apparently, are Scout readers), I was glad to see that they are trying to do something different here. The ramen is what they’re calling “jiro style”; the noodles are thicker (think bucatini) than the thin, addictive strands at The Ramen Butcher so they can stand up to the considerably saltier/fattier broth (a mix of pork and chicken). The toppings are much more generous, too; lots of cabbage and sprouts, and a crowning tower of pork. You can have yours basic or intensify it with an impactful, garlic-heavy spice paste that electrifies the broth. Alternatively, you can go the tsukamen (dipping noodle) route. Oh, and instead of gyozas, the ancillary focus at Ramen Gojiro is on karaage chicken, which they do deliciously in multiple ways, such as alongside a tartar-style sauce lit with Japanese pickles. They also pile the karaage on top of bowls of ramen – true story. I don’t want to give the whole game away, but it’s good.

Hours will be 11am to 10pm, seven days a week. Sadly, they won’t have a liquor license for a while yet, but they’re apparently working on it. Take a look and get in line…

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