HFX Ramen Quest Pt. 6: Beaver Sailor vs. Minato Sushi
Welcome to Part 6 of the Halifax Ramen Quest! Just as we were about to head to the finals, I discovered two other worthy contestants underneath a stone I have since unturned.
Beaver Sailor specializes in house-made Chinese noodles, so naturally they ought to be a contestant on the Halifax Ramen Quest!
Minato is a “Japanese restaurant” that is actually a Korean restaurant specializing in sushi. During a recent feed I noticed that ramen was advertised on the table.
We have ourselves a showdown!
Beaver Sailor Diner
1820 Hollis St, Halifax
Beaver Sailor is known for their hand-made Chinese noodles, so when I realized they did ramen I got very excited! They offer two varieties: Spicy Beef and Tom Yum Seafood. These are both quite novel, as we haven’t yet encountered a beef broth ramen or any Thai fusions on our quest.
The Spicy Beef Ramen ($14.99) included sliced beef, enoki mushroom, scallions and an egg. I thought the spicy beef broth was quite nice; it reminded me of their “Braised Beef Noodle Soup” (See: Previous Visit).
Denton thought the “vegetables and beef blended very nicely in the spicy broth”, and this was echoed by others who took note of the abundance of fresh scallions and how they made the broth pop!
The beef was tender and basic. The egg was perfectly poached, its creamy essence infiltrating the spicy broth.
Unfortunately, the noodles quickly became overcooked in the steaming hot broth. Even more disappointing was the realization that Beaver Sailor doesn’t make their ramen noodles in-house. I had higher hopes from a restaurant that specializes in noodles…
The Tom Yum Seafood Ramen ($15.99) is a fusion of Thailand’s famous hot and sour soup with the noodly appendages of ramen. It contained shrimp, tofu, fish balls, egg and vegetables . The broth was bright and rich, with the usual sweet tang and spice you’d expect from tom yum. It was a refreshing departure from the usual umami-dense flavours, but the novelty wore off pretty quickly and we all felt that the soup fell a little flat.
The best part about this soup was digging around for goodies, and we really enjoyed the shrimp and fish balls. Some artificial crab or squid rings would have been nice additions to the seafood theme.
Minato Sushi Japanese Restaurant
1520 Queen St, Halifax
I was excited to learn that Minato serves a “marinated chili” ramen, and I hoped that this would be a Korean-Ramen hybrid.
The Minato Ramen ($12.95) is described as: “ramen noodles, fried pork, egg, marinated chili, veggies, homemade soup”. When it arrived I was excited to see a vibrant red hue from the chilies. But what really caught our eye was the fried pork, which almost looked like chicharrónes, but was lightly battered, chewy/fatty morsels. They actually reminded me a lot of boneless dry ribs and were definitely a crowd-pleaser!
The broth was quite spicy indeed, but it was a one dimensional heat. Both Riea and Helen found that the powerful heat detracted from other flavours.
The noodles, meanwhile, were soft, starchy and chewy… in a bad way. Riea speculated that perhaps they were not cooked at the proper temperature.
The egg was broken, hard and unappealing. Meanwhile, the vegetables were pretty low key, with just a bit of cabbage and a few overcooked scallions. I was really hoping that kimchi would make an appearance, as the tartness may have countered the singular note of the chilies.
“The fried pork was the highlight of the ramen and upstaged the rest of the dish.” – Riea.
The Winner –> Beaver Sailor!
Beaver Sailor was the clear winner in every respect. The only category where Minato really competed was “Meat & Veg”, but there wasn’t enough veg to elevate their ramen above the fresh ingredients we found in our bowls at Beaver Sailor.
We were disappointed by the noodles at both venues, and we didn’t fall in love with either broth.
As for this chapter of the Halifax Ramen Quest, I don’t think either restaurant will be moving forward to the finals. I’ll be returning to the ramen quest with the first chill of autumn, when we’ll see Truly Tasty battle Studio East and Buta Ramen face off against Tako.
See the rest of the Halifax Ramen Quest:
Part 1: Truly Tasty vs. B Well Sushi & Cafe
Part 2: Studio East vs. Water & Bone
Part 3: Tako Sushi vs. Sushi Nami Royale
Part 4: Dharma Sushi vs. Sushi Shige
Part 5: Buta Ramen vs. Gangnam Korean BBQ