What do you know about ramen? We don’t like to brag, but we’re kinda Montreal ramen experts. Okay now we’re bragging, we aren’t experts but we do love ramen! Imagine our excitement when we found out that the Mile End was getting their own ramen restaurant? Tsukuyomi is a traditional ramen restaurant that makes their own tonkotsu broth. Restaurants that make their own tonkotsu broth used to be a rarity in Montreal, but recently they’ve been trending!
Everything is made in house at Tsukuyomi, including the ramen noodles, where you can choose to enjoy the usual thin or the less common, thick noodle option. But what is tonkotsu broth that we’re so excited about? It’s a simple, long process where the pork bones are broken to expose the marrow and simmers for hours where the broth is stirred, and watched carefully so it does not burn. The broth is thickened naturally throughout the slow cooking process, without starch, and brought to a gorgeous, creamy colour.
Besides a wonderful broth making for the perfect soup, traditional ramen restaurants are also known for their fun inexpensive appetizers. Tsukuyomi had a few of the more common ones and a few original options like Goma-ae, which is boiled spinach in a sesame paste sauce. It was served cold, and it was delicious. We should have ordered a second one, and at 3$ a pop you can’t really go wrong!
A classic Japanese appetizer is edamame beans, these salted green soya beans are a favourite of ours. We can’t get enough of them! At Tsukuyomi they were served in a tea cup, and the edamame beans weren’t soggy at all. A generous portion of edamame beans, 3$ is a steal, and they were appropriately salty too!
And here is where we went wrong, the appetizer did not go wrong… but we did! Takowasa is wasabi flavoured octopus, which arrived in a small little bowl with nori seaweed and more of that marvelous cooked spinach. Our waitress explained that you take a nori sheet, place some spinach in it, and then a little of the wasabi flavoured octopus before rolling it up like a maki roll and taking a bite. Sounds simple enough… so where did we go wrong?
We should have noticed that for such a small bowl of octopus there was a lot of spinach and Nori sheets. Instead, Diva #1 and P’tit Soeur (another dunce) took one Nori sheet each, placed some wilted spinach on it, and proceeded to split the WASABI flavoured octopus on the two Nori sheets. This was a mistake… the second we took a bite, the wasabi attacked our noses. We were most definitely supposed to split the octopus into more than two Nori sheets and enjoy the appetizer more delicately. Oops!
The Takowasa was another cold appetizer, and had we eaten it properly we’re sure that we would have enjoyed it more. The most filling appetizer was the Mini Chasu Don which is basically a poke bowl but with cooked pork. Braised pork tops a bowl of rice, accompanied by sesame seeds, green onions, pickled ginger, a mayo based sauce, and half of that wonderful miso egg that you see in ramen dishes. It was tasty but very filling with a large bowl of ramen!
And since it’s really all about the ramen at Tsukuyomi, let’s talk ramen! The trifecta of ramen evaluation is the broth-noodles-meat combo! Our options included Chasu Tonkotsu with pork bone broth, braised pork, that marvelous miso egg, Nori and spinach. Sweet Pea opted for the Chicken Tonkotsu which still used pork bone broth but replaced the braised pork with braised chicken. There is also a Veggie Tonkotsu which again uses pork bone broth, but with tofu and veggies.
We had the option between thin and thick homemade noodles. Thin noodles are more common, so we opted for the thick noodles which were excellent. We wanted to make our ramen broth spicy so we were recommended Tsukuyomi’s homemade spicy sauce for ramen. It’s made up of fermented mustard leaves and chili, but it wasn’t spicy enough for our liking, and we weren’t in love with the taste of it. Our table also had a garlic oil that was a tasty touch to Tsukuyomi’s ramen.
Tsukuyomi also has a vegan ramen option with a vegan broth, rice noodles, tofu and veggies, but ramen is all about the tonkotsu broth made with pork bones so we aren’t interested in this option. For dessert we opted for Kocha, a Japanese milk tea and a honey macha green tea that were both oddly served cold, but they were sweet and dessert-like, so we enjoyed them.
Tsukuyomi is a welcomed addition to the Mile End who was missing a superior ramen spot in the hood!
Our Rating: Splendid