Read my Metro Calgary Lunch Rush column or continue reading for the expanded review.
Muku Japanese Noodle House is not the only Calgary restaurant that serves ramen, but it is the only one that specializes in the curly, wheat-flour noodle soup. I like ramen, and seem to have no luck, or worse luck when it comes to finding that perfect bowl.
There is a limited appetizer and non-soup menu which includes dumplings and rice bowls. We started with the muku salad: spicy miso-flavoured ground pork on greens ($6.95). The sweet pork didn’t do it for me, but we enjoyed the light, citrus dressing.
There are three soup-bases from which to choose, such as a miso-based chicken broth, soy-based chicken broth (shoyu) and a soy-based pork broth (tonkotsu).My friend and I decided on the pork broth. He chose the kuro-ton ($9.25) with two slices of barbecued pork, bean sprouts and black garlic oil, adding a soy sauce egg for $1.50 extra.
I went for the chashu ramen ($11.95), which came with six slices of barbecued pork and one slice of pork belly.
The broth was creamy but we found it too oily and too salty. However, the ramen noodles were fresh, with a nice, chewy consistency.
The restaurant doesn’t take reservations. We arrived at 11:55 a.m. on a Thursday and had no issues being seated right away. Be forewarned: this is one of the worst parking lots in the city–it’s small, cramped and has undulations. Yes, I just used the word undulations to describe a parking lot.
I might return to Muku for a quick, cheap and filling meal, but for anyone who’s eaten ramen in Japan, Muku’s offerings still have a long way to go. For the time being, Shikiji Japanese Noodles and Sushi features some delicious ramen bowls and I also like the pork broth ramen at Maruju.
Ramen in Japan has the most amazing, subtly flavoured, pristine broth that maintains its pleasing taste sip after sip. To really satisfy that authentic, Japanese ramen craving, unfortunately, you still have to make a trip to Vancouver or Japan.
Muku Japanese Noodle House, 326 – 14 St N.W., Calgary, AB. 403-283-6555.
Hours of operation: Monday to Saturday 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.; Sunday 11:30 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Rating: 3 out of 5
Is this restaurant appropriate for:
Client negotiations: No
Lunch with co-workers: Yes
Social lunch: Yes
Quick solo lunch: Yes