Ajisen Ramen is a very popular Japanese restaurant franchise with over 300 restaurants worldwide, including 3 in Toronto.
The décor is colourful, bright and indicative of the restaurant's Japanese origin. However, the food (in this particular branch) is not consistently good. In fact it is often bland, served with grimy, hard-water stained cutlery.
Ajisen Beef Rice Set. The beef is very, very lightly salted and quite bland. There isn't enough flavour in the beef to be eaten with rice. The pickled vegetables in the top right of the picture are quite salty, sour and sweet, adding a bit of flavour to an otherwise flavourless dish. The miso soup is also good, but nothing extraordinary.
Curry Pork Cutlet Rice Set. Japanese curries are less spicy than South/Southeast Asian curries and are sweetened with carrots. Ajisen's Pork Cutlet was crispy, moist, and delicious, complementing the curry sauce very well.
Seaweed Salad. This dish was one of the better dishes here. The seaweed is fresh, slightly sweet, and fragrant, without having a "fishy" or "ocean-y" odour. The texture is great, not too slimy, dry, or fibrous.
Curry Deep Fried Shrimp Rice Set. Everything about this dish is the same about the pork cutlet rice set, except instead of pork, there's shrimp. The shrimp had a nice crispy panko breading, but was slightly overcooked, causing it to be a little bit chewy.
Tenderous Ribs Rice Set. Just like the beef in the beef rice set, there wasn't much flavour in the ribs, except for a slight soy sauce-y taste from the marinade/sauce it was cooked in.
Gyoza. Just like tempura, california rolls, and miso soup, gyoza is a pretty standard dish found in almost every Japanese restaurant. I was very disappointed by the fact that this restaurant burnt 2/3 of the 6 pieces. The pork within was tender and flavourful, but the flavour was ruined by the burnt gyoza wrappers. This is the worst gyoza dish I've ever had.
Ajisen Ramen is a good restaurant. Its wordwide reputation for quality is not unfounded, they truly do serve good food. However, if you want to try their food, go to the one in Chinatown, NOT the one on Warden and Steeles!
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