Ever since ramen has become one of the more trendier food items in Edmonton, Yuzen has become famously known for their Saturday ramen lunch special. It's been touted as one of the better ramen spots in town and apparently people flock in droves, with constant line-ups out the door. Unfortunately for me, working on Saturdays means I can't partake and find out what all the hype is about. FOMO much?
Despite that, I still made my way out to Yuzen after work on Saturday since I was curious to see how their sushi and dinner offerings would stack up. (Code speak for: my parents were out of town and I was too lazy to cook and make a mess of the kitchen.)
Located in an older and somewhat unassuming strip mall, Yuzen is one of the three Japanese restaurants that call St. Albert home. It's surprisingly small, so I can see why there would be line-ups out the door. Because the restaurant is family-run, it has a bit of a homely vibe. The tables and chairs are a little old-fashioned, but they're comfy and familiar.
When we went, it was Easter weekend and there were only a few other tables occupied. Even the waitress had mentioned that it had been a slower day.
We started off with a bowl of miso soup and sunomono salad which both came as part of the bento box that we had ordered. The miso soup was pretty standard and had a good amount of tofu and seaweed floating around. The sunomono salad was a refreshing bite of noodles, seaweed, cucumber and ebi marinated in a light and tangy vinaigrette. I normally wouldn't order sunomono salad, but it was very crisp and clean tasting. Definitely a nice way to start off the meal.
I love takoyaki ($7.50 for 8 pieces), but I often find Japanese restaurants take the shortcut route and just dunk frozen ones into a fryer. These were no different, but I did like how they had big chunks of octopus inside. They were also dressed with all of the usual fixings: takoyaki sauce, Japanese mayo, seaweed, and bonito flakes.
With Yuzen now crossed off my ever-growing list of restaurants to try, I've finally completed the Japanese restaurant triad in St. Albert! If you want to read more about their competition, click here for a review on Ohana-Ya, and here and here for reviews on Sushi Park. Overall, I still think Sushi Park has the upper hand in St. Albert, but Yuzen comes in at a respectable second. The restaurant isn't anything fancy and the food isn't exactly mind-blowing, but it's just good and comforting. I know I haven't tried their ramen yet, so the rankings could very well change. As the saying goes, first the worst, second the best.