I dropped into this Ramen house around 11 am on a Tuesday morning, taking advantage of the fact that there wasn’t a crowd huddled around the door like you’d see during a Sylvester Stallone sighting. The reasons for the mass crowds are threefold:
1. It’s ramen and it’s Toronto.
2. The place only holds about 30 people.
3. The policy is wait outside because there’s no room inside.
The decor is plain. The tables are bare. The menu is a small laminated, folded card. The tiny kitchen is barely visible in the back. No cliffhanger here…I followed my standard routine and ordered shio ramen with a side of gyoza dumplings.
It was quite a simple presentation, including green onion, noodles, a few bamboo shoots, pork belly and a softish boiled egg. It ignored the bells and whistles such as nori, pickled plums and goji berries. The broth was rich and full of pork flavor. On one hand, it was not oversalted. On the other, it was a bit greasy which wasn’t helped by the really fatty pork cut submerged in the broth. The egg was cooked and seasoned well, the amount of onion and shoots were not enough and the noodles (ordered thick) were a bit starchy. In the end, it was a decent bowl and less than $9.
The lipophilic nature of Sansotei was evident again when I ordered the gyoza. Four pieces for $4.50 (I ate one before I remembered I didn’t take a picture) arrived Stallone style (slightly tanned and glistening with oil) and served with a tasty dipping sauce. Despite being a bit greasy, the dough had a great texture (unlike Stallone post Judge Dredd) in that it was not too chewy nor too crispy. The filling was well seasoned and not watered down in a fashion similar to the plot of Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot.
Sansotei is a small, simple eatery with an equally simple menu. It doesn’t have the bells and whistles of other ramens, but despite being a bit greasy, the rich broth is flavorful enough and is not oversalted. None of the broths are vegetarian. The gyoza were terrific although a quick wipe with a napkin wouldn’t hurt. I really need to do a ramen power ranking but as it stands Sansotei comes in Stallone style again (an underdog who proves to be a serious contender). In the end, it may not the be the Rocky of all ramen, but it sure isn’t the Rhinestone either.