Name: Sansotei Ramen.
Chef/owner: Michael Zhang.
Price of dishes: $8.25–$9.50 for bowls of ramen, $3–$5 for sides.
Open for: Lunch and dinner, 11 a.m.–10 p.m., Monday–Saturday.
Assessment: This tiny, downtown restaurant opened just over a month ago without the fuss of some of its competitors, but that hasn’t prevented weekday line ups from forming out the door, starting as early as 6 p.m. Asian expats, university students, and downtown office workers make up the bulk of the clientele, all waiting upwards of half an hour for a bowl of salty, rich Japanese noodle soup. The city’s recent obsession with ramen has been well documented, and the quick popularity of Sansotei—despite the fact that its partially functioning website has little more than its addresses, and that it’s received significantly less press than other just-opened joints—is a testament to the quality of its ramen. The signature dish, tonkotsu ramen ($9.25) is a piping-hot bowl of milky pork bone broth, dense spaghetti-like noodles, thick slices of fatty, slow cooked pork belly, earthy black-fungus mushrooms, and a creamy, soft boiled egg. As the thermostat takes a nosedive, this no-frills, comfort food-staple is sure to continue drawing lineups—a fearsome prospect come sub-zero February.
- The broth.
- The convenient downtown location.
- The space is small, but, true to the original purpose of ramen as fast food, the staff get you in and out quickly.
- Patrons have reported showing up at 7 p.m. to find a sign on the door saying the food was sold out—hopefully this is an exception for a new restaurant, rather than the norm.
Bottom line: There’s a new competitor in the fight over the city’s best bowl of ramen. Sansotei might not have Kinton’s glorious noodles, but the good-to-the-last-drop broth might just be the best in town.—Jacob Rutka
179 Dundas St. W., 647-748-3833, sansotei.com.