Horin Ramen + Sake opened up in late 2018, occupying the space that used to be the short-lived Sanuki Udon (review here). They’ve got an impressively TIGHT menu with only ONE kind of ramen (with five variations that only differ in toppings), two kinds of gyoza, and that’s basically it! With such a narrow focus, they should nail this style of tonkotsu ramen, right? Mostly yes…but the detailed answer is a bit more complicated.
As Wicca says, the beef pho we had here was “aw-pho” (as in “awful”, for the dense people). I try to stay away from superlatives, but that bowl of beef pho we had at Sing Sing Beer Bar was the single worst dish I’ve had in the last year. The chef here is vegan.
Disclaimers about this review:
- Sing Sing were open
less than a weeka week and a half when we visited, so the food and menu will probably change. Hopefully the pho will improve.
- I post this because people like you and me deserve to know how the food is tasting now, if we’re considering risking our hard-earned money on a place with a gloriously wacky concept.
- Consider this a rough guide to what works and what doesn’t right now.
- NOTE: the room got dark really fast, so my photos of the food are horrible. The food actually looks way better in-person.
- There’s some connection to Donnelly Group that I haven’t been able to suss out yet. Sing Sing is a venture by the people behind Back and Forth Bar (the ping pong bar) in Gastown. Could it be Donnelly Group lending support to places that are actually cool? Instead of overwrought and soulless?
- NOTE 2: I wrote this while high, so I’ve gone back afterwards and added a few notes, as noted. 🙂
If you don’t want to read or scroll, here it is in a nutshell:
Good beer list, very fair beer prices, great pizza, the pho is a crime against Vietnamese culture, and the room is VERY LOUD.
Absolutely no relation to Kokoro Ramen (Instagram) on Victoria Drive, Kokoro Tokyo Mazesoba opened up in late September 2018 and has been buzzing all over Instagram ever since. It joins an interesting student-heavy area of downtown, located right beside BCIT Downtown Campus and is close to other places like Gyoza Bar, Ramen Gojiro, Peaceful, Baghdad Cafe, Koala Kebabs, Cartems Donuts, Smile Diner, and Cinara.
I went for lunch twice in two days to see what the fuss was all about. Great to finally have solid mazesoba (soupless mixed noodle) in town. Prices are a touch steep but the place is loud and busy, so I think they’ll do fine with the student crowd (who actually seem have a ton of discretionary spending money when it comes to food).
The food at Kabsa House on Robson St. has a lot of similarities with local Persian restaurants like Zeitoon and Cazba (of which “Kabsa” is a near anagram of). There’s a focus on rice and kabobs (skewers), but with the addition of rotisserie chicken and a few other Saudi Arabian/Gulf touches. Food was generally good, but slightly higher prices and slightly smaller serving sizes means not quite enough reason to choose this place over other more established places (some of which have killer daily specials that offer even more value), unless you’re in the area or have a hankering for their moist, well-seasoned rotisserie chicken.
[ UPDATE – MAY 22, 2018: Looks like this entire chain has imploded. Must’ve spread themselves way too thin with so many locations and spinoffs. Hope everyone involved lands on their feet with more well-received ventures in the future. ]
I never tried the old menu at Bao Down Snack Bar. I guess I was waiting for word-of-mouth to get better before trying it. When a prominent local blogger gives a middling 3.5 beakers out of 5, that’s not exactly a reason to rush out and try it. Now Bao Down Snack Bar have a totally new menu and I can only imagine what their first round of nu-Filipino food was like. Maybe it’s unfair for me to make them the torchbearer of modern Filipino food…
Going by what a friend and I tried during a Friday happy hour, the new menu has morphed into a pan-Asian/Mexican pub food thing where the Filipino spirit got buried by trend-driven blandness.
There was lots of Kanye on the sound system.
Even after four years, Marutama Ramen (moldy oldy review here) is still considered one of the top ramen places in the city. Definitely Top 5, if not Top 3. Their chicken paitan (cloudy chicken broth) ramen is still unique and well-executed. That slippery aosa seaweed (sea lettuce) has me all [insert sweaty feverish emoji here]. AND their ramen egg is still the most delicious and consistent around.
Their new third location on Main and 13th is called Marutama Gaiden and offers a different take on their chicken paitan ramen. Don’t come here expecting more of the same. Almost everything is different. Here’s my personal take on this place that we tried at the tail end of their two-week soft opening phase.
After a long build-up, Taps & Tacos is finally open near “Brewer’s Row” in Port Moody. I tried it about a month and a half after they opened, so things should’ve settled in nicely by this point.
There’s a new Mexican taco place on Main St. called Maizal (Facebook, Instagram). It’s surprising that within the span of a couple months, TWO places have opened up in Vancouver that make their own tortillas in-house: Chancho (where Nuba used to be on Seymour) and Maizal. I did a quick little visit to Maizal with Moyenchow and here’s my early thoughts.
(As far as I know, there’s no relation between this Maizal and the Maizal in Toronto.)
Let’s get this out of the way first: “Fayuca is a term used in Northern Mexico to describe petty contraband goods smuggled over the border like clothes, liquor, and food.” – Scout Magazine. So the name of the restaurant is a sly nod to how they approach their food, bringing influences from all along the Pacific coast. But, as they say, don’t call them Mexican.
Long story short: I don’t think their happy hour menu really shows what they can do. I wasn’t thrilled. These are Chefs with a captial C, and this restaurant did a lot of collaborations and events with the YVR Food Fest, so I thought they would be capable of much more.
I don’t often do “revisit” posts unless something goes REALLY haywire with a place. Day-to-day stuff I post on Instagram and the bigger, more important, or newsworthy stuff I post here. My second visit to Sen Pad Thai resulted in more thoughts about this place — too much to cram into an Instagram post — so I put it up here. Enjoy.