Name: Ramen Isshin
Neighbourhood: Harbord Village
Contact Info: 421 College St., 416-367-4013, ramenisshin.com, @ramenisshin
Owners: Adam Chan, Jason Matsubara and Koji Zenimaru, who also owns Kingyo in Cabbagetown
Executive Chef: Kingyo chef Koji Zenimaru
The Food: Zenimaru describes the new shop’s cuisine as “Japanese soul food,” but ramen is clearly the star. It’s made with two types of broth—tonkotsu (pork) or vegetable—and topped with things like pork belly, wood-ear mushrooms and house-made chili oil. Bowls come in popular flavours like miso, shoyu, shio and tan-tan, a spicy soup crowned with wok-fried pork and served with a mortar and pestle of black sesame seeds for DIY seasoning. Non-soup options include karaage (fried chicken), “Japatine” (poutine made with Japanese curry gray) and a trio of rice bowls.
The Drinks: Pop and green tea until the liquor license is approved. Once it comes through, Asahi beer will be available on tap.
The Place: Formerly home to a late-night shwarma counter, the space has been transformed to evoke a sense of Tokyo, complete with a mainly Japanese staff and decorative calligraphy on the walls. Diners can watch their bowls being prepped in the big open kitchen.
• 24-60 hours to simmer Isshin’s complex broths
• 4 people who know the recipes for said complex broths
• 2 dragons pictured in the wall-spanning mural by Hiroshi Yamamoto
• 1 ramen, one heart: the restaurant’s motto (“Isshin” is Japanese for “one heart”)