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