On the Sansotei Ramen web page, this was the Wednesday afternoon post: “Ottawa, you guys have shown us too much love! We need to take a break… We will only be open until 3 pm on Thursday so we can replenish our stock. We hope you understand. We are overjoyed by your excitement for having authentic ramen in Ottawa. Thanks. (Heart.)”
I was one of those depleting the Sansotei stock last week. It was just past two pm, on Day Two of Sansotei service, and it had been (according to our server) “a little hectic”. Particularly over the eleven thirty to two o’clock lunch hour. The restaurant was still packed when we arrived, but the queue was gone.
Sansotei is a popular trio of Toronto/GTA ramen restaurants, newly arrived in Ottawa in the Bank Street space that used to house a clothes shop called Babyface.
They’ve done a fine job with the renovations – mirrored walls, slivered stone, wooden tables, and a ceiling zig zagged with nautical ropes.
The specialty at Sansotei is tonkotsu, or pork bone. It is delicious, the long-simmered broth rich and milky and seriously porky, filled in with bouncy noodles (choice of thin or thick) two rounds of braised pork belly fragrant of star anise, black fungus (pak pui), crunchy scallions and a marinated soft boiled egg, served vivid-yolk up. I asked for a side of the roasted garlic oil, so I could add it myself. Bit by bit. Experience has taught me this approach works best, though you will pay slightly more for the pleasure of anointing your broth yourself.
Other varieties include Tonkutsu Black (which comes with a slick of kitchen-added garlic oil), Shio (sea salt flavour), Shoyu (with soy sauce), Spicy Tan Tan (which they had run out of) and Tomato Ramen, which we also ordered. It was a much lighter broth, with a pronounced and very pleasant tomato flavour, a fishy tasting scallop, the usual egg, and crowned with shilgochu, threads of red chilli peppers.
Last I checked, the soup pot’s full again.
Sansotei Ramen is at 153 Bank Street, 613-695-1718
Ramen $10 to $10.75. Monday to Saturday, 11am to 10pm. Closed Sunday