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What’s on the menu at Oji Seichi, a new ramen shop in East Chinatown from a former Momofuku chef

By Liza Agrba| Photography by Daniel Neuhaus
What's on the menu at Oji Seichi, a new ramen shop in East Chinatown from a former Momofuku chef

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Name: Oji Seichi Contact: 354 Broadview Ave., ojiseichi.com , @ojiseichi
Neighbourhood: East Chinatown Owners: Shawn Irvine, Wilson Duong and Mitch Bates Chef: Mitch Bates Covid-19 safety measures: Frequent sanitization, indoor mask policy, physically distanced tables, contact tracing Accessibility: Not accessible

The food

A love letter to Japanese-Canadian culture, the menu focuses on Japanese technique and local ingredients—like Ontario meat and mushrooms, fish cakes made in Scarborough and sea salt harvested in Vancouver. This spot is also very much about family. Chef Mitch Bates is married to Shawn Irvine’s cousin, and Shawn’s beloved late uncle Seichi is the restaurant’s namesake. He also went by “Sandy,” hence the restaurant’s menu of “sandys” (sandos), which are a focal point alongside picture-perfect bowls of ramen. Regional fast food is an inspiration: the pork sandy is an ode to the McTeri, a teriyaki burger popular in Japan and Hawaii. Juicy pork gyoza and onion rings served with an addictive nori ranch round things out.

What's on the menu at Oji Seichi, a new ramen shop in East Chinatown from a former Momofuku chef
Here we have a mise en place of ramen toppings: bamboo shoots, chopped scallions, field spinach, perfectly jammy eggs, and jolly-looking fish cakes made in Scarborough.

 

What's on the menu at Oji Seichi, a new ramen shop in East Chinatown from a former Momofuku chef
Nests of chewy ramen noodles made with a blend of Canadian flours: high-protein white, whole wheat and rye. The folks at Oji Seichi flew a noodle machine, which they lovingly dubbed Midori, in from Japan. Besides their starring role on the menu, these noodles are also available for sale at Bare Market, Heisei Mart and JTown Markham.

 

What's on the menu at Oji Seichi, a new ramen shop in East Chinatown from a former Momofuku chef
Someone’s really using their noodle(s).

 

What's on the menu at Oji Seichi, a new ramen shop in East Chinatown from a former Momofuku chef
The broth is a light, dashi-based, Tokyo-style version made with chicken, pork, mussels, clams and a blend of aromatics. (A mushroom-based vegetarian broth is also available.)

 

What's on the menu at Oji Seichi, a new ramen shop in East Chinatown from a former Momofuku chef
The shoyu ramen hits a soy sauce base with the house meat-and-seafood broth. It’s served with stretchy house noodles, slow-cured and thick-cut roasted pork belly, and a balanced bevy of toppings: nori, fish cake, bamboo shoots, egg, spinach and scallions. $16.50.

 

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What's on the menu at Oji Seichi, a new ramen shop in East Chinatown from a former Momofuku chef
Here we have the shrimp sandy, inspired by Asian fast food shrimp burgers. There’s a patty of ground shrimp laced with pork fat and topped with iceberg lettuce, pickles and curry mayo. $12.

 

What's on the menu at Oji Seichi, a new ramen shop in East Chinatown from a former Momofuku chef
The teriyaki pork sandy pays homage to the McTeri, a teriyaki burger you can find at overseas Mickey Dees. Here, seasoned ground pork is sandwiched with pickled and grilled shishito peppers, shredded cabbage, and of course, teriyaki sauce. Acidity from the peppers balances that sweet, universally beloved sauce. $10.

 

What's on the menu at Oji Seichi, a new ramen shop in East Chinatown from a former Momofuku chef
Chef Bates’ mother-in-law’s recipe for pickled daikon features in the chicken katsu sandy, which also has panko-coated chicken, shredded cabbage, mayo and a classic tonkatsu sauce. $10. (You can add onion rings to any sandy for an extra three bucks.)

 

What's on the menu at Oji Seichi, a new ramen shop in East Chinatown from a former Momofuku chef
Left to right: Chef Mitch Bates, Shawn Irvine and Wilson Duong.
The drinks

A tight beer list complements the food. There’s Asahi Super Dry Black, which goes well with anything where soy sauce is a factor (like their classic shoyu ramen) and a couple of options from Godspeed Brewery. Oji Seichi collaborated with IZUMI brewery to make its very own junmai (pure rice) sake—lightly sweet and smoky, it works beautifully with their ramen. A small selection of pop and (non-alcoholic) sencha tea brewed at Godspeed is also on offer.

What's on the menu at Oji Seichi, a new ramen shop in East Chinatown from a former Momofuku chef
Bottles of Seichi Premium Junmai Sake, the fruit of a collaboration with IZUMI Brewery. Junmai translates to “pure rice,” meaning it’s brewed with only water, yeast and koji, with no distilled alcohol added. Meant to be consumed cold, this sake is lightly sweet, smoky and salty—a perfect foil to a steaming bowl of ramen. $21.
The space

Bright, warm and casual, the dining room is as friendly to families as it is to solo diners grabbing a quick bowl or sandy at the counter. See if you can spot Uncle Seichi himself in the big white and blue mural. (Hint: he was a painter by trade.) White oak and greenery lines the walls, there’s colourful terrazzo flooring, and an old-school newspaper rack near the cash works as a merch holder.

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What's on the menu at Oji Seichi, a new ramen shop in East Chinatown from a former Momofuku chef
With Duong on the team—a graphic designer who’s worked with the Raptors and the Leafs—Oji Seichi has some pretty sweet merch, like these shirts.

 

What's on the menu at Oji Seichi, a new ramen shop in East Chinatown from a former Momofuku chef
More of the merch available for sale, including branded ramen bowls.

 

What's on the menu at Oji Seichi, a new ramen shop in East Chinatown from a former Momofuku chef
What's on the menu at Oji Seichi, a new ramen shop in East Chinatown from a former Momofuku chef
What's on the menu at Oji Seichi, a new ramen shop in East Chinatown from a former Momofuku chef
What's on the menu at Oji Seichi, a new ramen shop in East Chinatown from a former Momofuku chef

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