You know that super-hero (or is it a villain?) that has the special ability to project her voice at super-sonic levels to the point where it can destroy virtually anything that stands in its path? Well that’s the greeter for Tokyo Joe’s Ramen Okawari. Her voice echoes in my ears after I’ve passed through the door. After the initial shock, it’s actually quite endearing.
Under the guidance of sonic-boom lady, the staff is incredibly enthusiastic, and I’m quickly ushered to a seat. As I pass the open kitchen and make my way to my seat, my feet scuffle on the laminate hardwood floor. The lights are a bright white and the tables and chairs are simple and economic. A TV is touting the latest exploits of the past government meeting in the House of Commons (Canadian Congress, for you foreign readers).
This is the first time I’ve ever gone to a non-Mcdonald’s type restaurant alone for dinner. But I’m willing to suffer it out because I know you guys are CLAMBERING to read the next DashToDine adventure. I’m willing to make sacrifices.
Suddenly out of nowhere, a familiar face pops into my field of vision. Then another. Then another. Friends of a friend, and a friend of mine burst into the restaurant with a large group. Guess I’m not a total loner. A dumb ‘what are you doing here?’ grin erupts on my face. We exchange greetings, then continue on our separate ways.
Thankfully that whole exchange killed most of the waiting time for my food, so I didn’t have to sit alone in awkwardness, twiddling my thumbs for very long; the food arrives soon after, and I’m able to immerse myself in my foodie zone.
I ordered the Okawari Ramen. Figured I’d order the dish that had the title of their establishment. With the help of the server, it floats over the table and comes to rest in front of me. It’s beautifully prepared, the portion is large, and I’m more than ready to go.
Pork slices crown the top of the bowl. Corn Bits to the left, Seaweed and Veggies to the right. Cha Shu Ginseng Soup submerges the Noodles. I take a bite. Subtle, yet filled with intermingling flavours. Savoury, almost Miso-Soup like qualities can be found regardless of whether I sample the Pork, the Noodles, or the wide variety of Veggies in the bowl. It avoids that disgustingly over-the-top flavour that many second rate Ramen houses use to overcompensate for inferior ingredients. It’s great. I once again go to my spider senses. No MSG. Probably one of the cleanest servings of Ramen when it comes to that category. I barely have to touch my Water. I can actually drink the Soup without feeling the crippling effects of the MSG Kryptonite. Beautiful.
The super exuberant sonic-woman seems to have gone. No wonder it feels like a church in here. I wave for the bill, pay, wave good-bye to the staff, and leave. There is a noticeable lack in energy now that Sonic-Woman is gone. Everyone is still friendly though.
Passing through the door, I realize something. Being a loner isn’t so bad when the food’s good.