Out of all the ramen places in Toronto, MeNami might stand out in the crowd as a spot that specializes in udon noodles — all made in-house.
The owner, Chae Kim whom also owns Han Ba Tang, a Korean fusion tapas restaurant has sent chef Kevin Shin (also of Han Ba Tang) to Japan to learn and perfect the making of udon noodles, which on the menu is the star.
The menu features some udon in traditional soups, but also some fusion creations that are quite unique. You will also find some non-udon tapas dishes as well.
Warning: A bit picture-heavy as this is a compilation of two different visits.
Thai Iced Tea. I believe this is off the menu. It has coconut cream and shredded coconut. Alcohol version is if I recall, $12 and the non-alcoholic version is $6.
Albacore Tuna Tataki ($12) with wasabi, soy sauce, green onions, green onion oil and seaweed. This is quite a well-balanced dish with the slight hit of the wasabi and saltiness of the soy sauce. Funnily, when all the tuna were gone, we finished the remaining seaweed too, and wanting more.
Corn Kaki-age ($5) fried corn niblets and honey butter mayonnaise. Everyone raves about this and rightfully so. When you think about it, there should be nothing really special about battered corn niblets, but it’s the mayonnaise that accompanied it.
Deep Fried Eggplant ($6) with green onion, Hana Katsuo (bonito?), sesame, deep fried yam and miso mayonnaise dip. This was complimentary from the owner. I’m not really a fan of eggplants, so I didn’t have this.
Convention Roasted Pork Belly ($11) with pickled onion and shiso spring mix. Oh the pork belly… still drooling over the pork belly. Eat it with the pickled onions and a few leaves to cut down on the fattiness. However, you might find the skin a bit stick-to-your-teeth chewy…
Deep Fried Okra ($5) with tendashi dipping sauce. This was complimentary when we came for a second visit. Much like vegetable tempura.
Smoked Salmon with Parsnip Sauce ($10), torched smoked salmon with deep fried yuba and parsnip sauce. The parsnip sauce really paired well with the slight smoky salmon. It had a bit of a spiciness to it too.
Beef Tataki ($12) with sesame seed, green onion, green onion oil and seaweed. This was good, but I much preferred the tuna tataki.
On my first visit to MeNami, I wanted to try the Black Sesame Puree Udon with Beef ($15) with schicimi (Japanese spice aka Togarashi), green onions, red pepper thread and baby spinach because it appeared to be the most unique udon dish on the menu. I have always eaten black sesame in desserts, so in a savoury dish, it seems to be an odd combination, and it slightly is. It’s not overly sweet, which is a good thing. It’s not really spicy either. It was strangely good for the first few bites, but got pretty overwhelming. The beef, which is pretty much bulgogi beef tasted a little odd with the black sesame puree. Unique indeed, but not for everyone. Also, your mouth will stain black. Get extra napkins.
On my second and most recent visit, I went simple by getting the Original Tsuke Udon ($7.95), a cold udon dish that you dip in the sweet and slightly salty soy sauce. They give a small dish of grated ginger, daikon and onions that you put into the sauce. You can definitely get a sense of what their in-house made udon noodle is like without the complications — chewy, firm, bouncy.
Mentaiko Cream Sauce Udon ($12) with green onions and spicy tomato oil. This is highly raved about and an Italian take on udon. Mix the mentaiko (marinated roe) to disperse.
Curry Udon with Shrimp Tempura ($11)
Seafood Yaki Udon ($13) with squid, mussels, shrimp, onion, mayonnaise and sweet soy sauce.
Oven Baked Udon ($14) with shrimp, scallop, bacon, green peppers, white onions and tex mex. I was told this tasted like mac and cheese.
Mentai Anake Udon ($10) with mentaiko, green onion, grated ginger, wakame and thick soup. The server brings out the noodles and soup separately to which they pour for you at the table.
Since eating at MeNami, I can’t really go back to the packaged udon. Reservations are recommended.
5469 Yonge St.