Battle of the Ramen: Goro & Gun vs Shiki Menya

If you haven’t already heard by now, Calgary has been blessed (finally) with two new ramen shops.  As someone who loves noodles, I was pretty darn excited about the news and went to try them out as soon as I can.  I attend the pop up dinner for Goro & Gun at Model Milk weeks ago when they first did a preview and was pretty impressed with what was served, so I didn’t hesitate to go back and eat at the actual restaurant.  From chatting with the owner, Ken, he told us that they use no msg in their broth and they get their noodles from the same place that supplies for Hokkaido Ramen Santouka (one of my favorite ramen-yas).

First Visit:

GG - Lobster California Roll

Lobster California Roll – $14.00

Essentially your regular California Roll but with lobster meat as opposed to the pollock mixture.  Personally I’m not a huge fan of the rice as it was quite mushy and gummy, but I like the flavors overall.

GG - Lamb Gyoza

Lamb Gyoza – $8.00

Served with a spicy (not really) sesame like sauce as opposed to your usual gyoza dipping sauce, these were a winner in my books.  I do think there should be more filling inside so we can get a better taste of the meat, but the gyozas was nicely seasoned and I quite enjoyed these.

GG - Shio Tonkotsu Ramen (2)

Shio Tonkotsu Ramen – $11.50; Smoked Egg – $3.00

I think shio is the best way to truly enjoy the actual flavors of the broth.  I love it.  It’s rich, creamy and not too salty.  There’s a hearty portion of bouncy/springy noodles and toppings – although I wish the egg was not an add-on or at a minimum, half an egg should be included at no extra charge.   However, the egg is really delicious – it is served cold so it’s best to cut the egg in half and have it warm up in the broth.  The inside is only lightly cooked so the yolk is still creamy and gooey.  Yum.  Oh, and let’s not forget about that super fatty piece of pork belly.  Pay the $3 extra for another portion – seriously!

GG - Spicy Lamb Ramen

Spicy Lamb Ramen – $14.00; Smoked Egg – $3.00

R tried this and basically it’s the same broth but drizzled with a spicy oil.  His advice is to wait a few minutes before eating so the flavors of the spicy oil can infuse into the broth.

Second Visit:

I came here with my other friend R on a different visit and ordered different items just so I can do a more elaborate review.

GG - Yam Tempura

Yam Tempura – $8.00

Feeling like something starchy and deep fried, I decided the yam tempura would be a good choice and shared some with R.  These are nicely fried, appropriately thin, and crispy.

GG - Miso Ramen

Miso Ramen – $11.50

I tried the miso this time without any add-ons.  I have to say I didn’t really like this.  The miso flavor was not what I’m used to… it was… I can’t say bad, but very different.  Maybe a different type of miso was used, but nonetheless, I don’t think I will order this again and will stick to the shio broth.

Third Visit:

Went back for yet another visit but this time on the weekend and learned that they now do a happy hour, Monday to Friday from 3-6pm.  All sushi and sashimi (excluding rolls) are half price and selected appies are $5.  Let’s see when I can sneak out early from work to take advantage of this!

Overall since the restaurant is in such a convenient location and they take reservations, I think it’s a great dining choice if you’re looking for some decent ramen.  Service is generally pretty good (I found it better when it was busy… strange!) and prices are a bit high, but they are right in city center!

Pictures from the pop-up dinner at Model Milk:

Here is the sneak preview of what Goro & Gun had to offer.  I really enjoyed the pop-up dinner that night!

GG - Kaiseki


GG - Spinach with Black Sesame Dressing

Spinach with Black Sesame Dressing

GG - Smoked Salmon Deviled Egg, Crunchy Spicy Tuna Roll

Smoked Salmon Deviled Egg, Spicy Tuna Roll

GG - Short Rib with Miso Garlic Sauce

Grilled Short Rib in Miso Sauce

GG - Shio Tonkotsu Ramen

Shio Tonkotsu Ramen

GG - Red Bean Soup with Green Tea Ice Cream

Red Bean Soup with Green Tea Ice Cream

Goro & Gun on Urbanspoon

Shiki Menya, as the name sort of suggests, is opened by the already well-established Shikiji.  Funny thing is I never go to Shikiji for ramen merely because they don’t serve the creamy tonkotsu broth that I like.  Plus, like most places, their ramen comes from a package.  So when I heard that Shiki Menya makes their own ramen, I decided to give them a try.  We went there on a Saturday about 5 minutes before their opening time and saw that they were already seating people.  Somehow, because we were a smaller party than the people that were already standing in line, we snagged the last table.  Score!

Shiki - Premium Ocha

Cold Premium Ocha – $6.00

Since hubby and I are both tea drinkers, we decided to give their cold tea a try.  It has a nice intense matcha flavor and it was quite refreshing.

Shiki - Char Siu Tacos

Char Siu Tacos – $7.00

Soft taco shells piled on with a mixture of fat and lean pork and pineapple salsa, with an extra serving of pineapple salsa.  While I really enjoyed the overall taste, I didn’t expect the pineapple salsa to be spicy as it wasn’t stated.  I can see people enjoying this, but I’m especially sensitive to sharp tastes nowadays and just found the spiciness too much for me.

Shiki - Tonkotsu Black

Tonkotsu Black Ramen – $14.00

Hubby and I both decided to try this.  I have to say the broth was not what I was expecting – we were expecting the creamy broth and this was clear, like a shoyu one.  Also, I don’t know why, but I thought the flavors tasted kind of earthy, very vegetable like without much pork taste to it.  It makes me wonder if they gave me the wrong broth? The noodles were springy but also a tad soft for my liking.  And the pork slice was very lean, not fatty, which may be great for some people but I like it to be melt-in-your-mouth, especially in a bowl of ramen.  Overall I was disappointed in this because it was not what I was expecting, but it wasn’t a bad bowl of ramen.

Shiki - Char Siu Garlic Mayo Don

Garlic Mayo Char Siu Don – $4.00

I ordered this for our son, but I ended up eating most of it since he wasn’t really hungry from breakfast.  This bowl of rice was topped with the same pork from the taco, so fatty and lean bits and drizzled with a savoury garlicky mayo.  I really like this – I would come back just to eat this!

The service we received that day was really good, but I was disappointed with my choice of the ramen.  I wouldn’t mind returning to try a different kind though.  Prices are average to a bit high depending on what you order.  I’m not crazy about waiting in line to eat so if I were to return again, I would definitely aim to be one of the first tables to be seated.

Shiki Menya on Urbanspoon


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