Toronto Bites: Kinton Ramen

Dinner at Kinton Ramen was a bit of a lucky accident. We had actually discussed trying the place back when it had recently opened, but we never seemed to be able make it there at a time when the line-ups didn’t stretch out the door. A few days ago, however, Mikaius and I were on our way to have dinner elsewhere and passed by an unusually quiet Kinton – we looked at each other and immediately decided to head in. It was too good an opportunity to pass up!

Dani: Seating was still rather tight because most of the tables were occupied, so the hostess offered us a spot at the bar. I didn’t mind that at all because I thought it’d be interesting to see how the food was being made right in front of us. Right about the time that we were going to be seated, though, a table was freed up and we managed to snag one of the three-seaters that lined the wall. As it had been a particularly long day (Distillery District date post coming up in a few!), having our own little bubble inside the loud restaurant was wonderful.

I think that the one thing I needed a bot of getting used to was how easily-customizable your own bowl of ramen could be at Kinton! I’d grown used to spots like Ajisen where the menu is jam-packed with page upon page full of choices, but at Kinton, they do it differently. You get to create your own experience. You choose in this order from their different varieties: broth (chicken or pork) – flavour – soup – noodle – meat.

For myself, I ordered:  pork ramen – shoyu-flavoured broth – rich – thin noodles – pork belly. It was pork-overload, my goodness, but delicious beyond my previous ramen experiences. It was amazing. The pork was tender, flavourful, and delicious without being overly cloying, and the noodles had just the right chew. What won me over, though, was that beautiful broth. I couldn’t actually finish my bowl and had to ask for the leftovers in a takeaway container, which in itself was a nice surprise! The leftovers came to me already packed in a microwaveable bowl, with cutlery and napkins included, packed in a brown paper bag. I was so used to styrofoam containers that I might have squealed a little bit at Kinton’s packaging.

The staff was also incredibly friendly and efficient! The constant stream of greetings for every customer walking in or out did take some getting used to, but enjoyed that. We also didn’t have to wait very long for our food. Before we knew it, our beautiful bowls of ramen had arrived! We didn’t time it, but I’m sure that the wait time was way less than what we usually would wait for when it came to ramen.

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Excuse the flare – we have to remember to use Mikaius’ phone next time (that, or just suck it up and bring our camera everywhere).

Mikaius: I have to admit, at first I was confused. We had been on a long, wonderful walk downtown beforehand, after my classes. By the time we got to Kinton, I wasn’t entirely sure I could handle the rambunctious youthfulness of Kinton’s atmosphere. I expected a long list of perfect little bowls of small ramen, as the place seemed small and modern. What we got was amazing. I had prepared what I wanted off the menu, though, and suddenly realized it was Monday, so I could have the Monday Special: Karaage chicken ramen!

I had never had karaage chicken before, and was really eager to try it, in contrast to Dani’s choice of pork-based ramen. I was completely satisfied. The chicken was crispy and crunchy, it was juicy on the inside, and the chunks of chicken submerged in the ramen were practically springs of broth. The broth itself was perfectly salty and tasted like the best fried chicken I could imagine. I had gone with thick noodles and a seasoned egg to top it off. I’m used to egg with ramen, love it, too. However, I didn’t expect a perfectly molten inside on that seasoned egg, and I could not eat it fast enough.

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That chicken was delicious! It had all the elements of the trifecta that Mikaius always looks for in fried chicken: crispy, delicious, and it’s served in chunks rather than on the bone. Mmmmm.

Dani: I would highly recommend this place, with a caveat: you have to make sure that you don’t go during rush hours, because wait times get really long. Other than that, food is great, the service good, and the staff are incredibly helpful – all of which are usually ingredients to a good night out.

Mikaius: I’m with Dani on this one. Kinton was awesome, clean, friendly and fast. Loved it! The food was delicious! Entirely recommended!

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