- Address: 5469 Yonge St, Toronto
- Visited: 01/28/2016, Dinner, 3 people
- Cuisine: Japanese
- Rating: 4.5 5.0 Excellent, worth every $
4.5 Good, food & value
4.0 Good, but $$, would re-visit
3.5 Meh, good $, would re-visit
3.0 Meh, would not re-visit
2.0 Did not like $$ [$] <20; [$$] <40; [$$$] <80; [$$$$] >80
- Website: http://www.menami.ca/
MeNami is a new restaurant near Yonge and Finch from the owners of another popular North York restaurant, Han Ba Tang. The restaurant specializes in traditional udon, made fresh in-house. Chae, the owner, sent one of her chefs, Chef Kevin Shin, to Japan for 6 months to learn the technique for making udon and imported a Japanese udon machine from Kagawa in order to create the most authentic udon experience possible for her customers. I had the pleasure of checking out the new restaurant at their media launch.
Disclaimer: All food and drinks reviewed below were provided complimentary. All opinions expressed below are wholly mine.
My dinner at MeNami was a real treat and much more than just noodles, although udon was the highlight. Similar to Han Ba Tang, the decor was industrial chic with use of reclaimed wood and an old truck fender hanging over the neon lit bar. With plentiful food, the bar menu was equally impressive. Cocktails ranged in price from $8 to $12 and featured Asian flavours such as yuzu and shochu (plum wine). On top of that, MeNami offered a wide selection of sakes, beers and Korean liquors. MeNami proved that they knew how to host a fun night.
Dinner began with dishes from the tapas and salad section of the menu.
Smoked Salmon with Parsnip Sauce – thick slices of sweet, sashimi grade salmon that had light smoke flavour.
Oven Roasted Yam Salad – greens with a light vinaigrette and cubes of sweet yam that had a caramelized coating.
Udon Salad with Chicken Breast – our first udon dish with a white sesame dressing, refreshing and a large, filling portion.
Albacore Tuna Tataki – again, high quality tuna, fresh, sweet and perfectly seared exterior.
Deep Fried Ika – I could not believe how soft and tender the squid calamari was, nori was also included in the batter adding a salty, umami flavour to each piece.
Corn Kaki-age – sounds simple (and a bit odd) on paper, but the fresh corn fritters were sweet and crunchy, highly addictive.
Beef Tataki – thin slices of beef with a healthy topping of green onion and sesame, while taste I thought this was the weakest appetizer.
After 7 appetizers, we moved on to udon. MeNami offers 18 udon dishes, some traditional and some with fusion twists. Before getting into each dish, I need to rave about the udon. Each noodle had a chewy, firm texture that was very satisfying to bite into. The noodles also soaked up flavour without changing texture and sauce clung to them.
Tsuke Udon – this was my favourite udon of the night, cold udon dipped in a light, sweet soy sauce with ginger, daikon and ground sesame.
Kitsune Udon – my second favourite dish, this was the most traditional bowl with a clear broth and topped with a slab of marinated deep fried tofu and fish cake.
Spicy Pork Udon – broth was similar to the kitsune but topped with spicy pork, onion and shredded nori.
Mentaiko Cream Sauce Udon – owner Chae’s favourite bowl, the udon was served with a creamy white sauce and a large dollop of mentaiko, marinated fish roe, when mixed together the udon was creamy and flavourful.
Black Sesame Puree Udon with Beef – again, I found the last dish to be the weakest, the udon was coated with a thick, sweet black sesame sauce topped with slices of beef. The flavour reminded me of a sweet bulgogi. Interesting, but I prefered the salty, savoury noodles more.
And that was just the food. I also had the chance to sip sakes (including Mio Sparkling sake, one of my favourites), cocktails and Korean shochu. I enjoyed the sweet, citrus flavours of my Sailor Moon Gone Wild cocktail and the clear taste of the White Samurai.
Overall, MeNami’s menu showcased a wide variety of dishes centred around their traditional, house-made udon noodles, that were amazing. Although MeNami means “little tide”, they’re making a big splash that’s well deserved.