One of the great things about  being a food blogger is that I get to write about something I really love.  On the other hand, the bad thing about  being a food blogger is that writing each and every blog post brings back a full-sensory recollection of the subject, making me really hungry.  Which is exactly what's happening right now, as I review the pics I'm going to use for this entry on Kenji Tei.

Kenji Tei is a new ramen house along President Avenue that's been drawing raves, and with good reason.  The food here, according to owner Kenneth Kho, is a blend of traditional Japanese ramen recipes and new Japanese-inspired fusion dishes.    Why Japanese?  Simple, says Kenneth, it's the food he likes best. Kho shared some of the house specialties with us in a marathon sampling session that started at one p.m. and ended at well past three.  We got to try the Spicy Negi Ramen, a traditional Gomoku Shio Ramen, Crispy Chicken Teriyaki, fried Cheese Gyoza, traditional steamed Gyoza, and Chahan. 
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Spicy Negi Ramen
The Spicy Negi Ramen was ramen noodles and succulent slices of roast pork floating in a bowl of rich, savory broth with a kick.  This is exactly the kind of comfort food I'd look for after a really tiring day and something to pick up my spirits.  The spicy soup also went very well with the Cheese Gyoza, pork dumplings in a thick dough wrapper, but fried crispy golden brown instead of steamed, with a nugget of creamily melted mozzarella cheese in the middle.  The cheese gyozas are served with a dip of mayo and chili oil, which perfectly set off the mildness of the cheese. I can see why this is a crowd favorite!  The Gomoku Shio Ramen will certainly please lovers of traditional style ramen--noodles in a very umami Japanese soup stock, topped with shrimp, beef, roast pork, cuttlefish, vegetables, and half a boiled egg, and it comes in a really big bowl.  Were I dining alone, a bowl of this would be a match even for my rather wolfish appetite. 
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Cheese Gyoza
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Gomoku Shio Ramen
Next came two dishes usually eaten with rice, though they also make great sides for ramen; the Crispy Chicken Teriyaki and steamed Gyoza.  The teriyaki consisted of  boneless pieces of chicken, skin on and fried to a nice crunch, glazed in Kenji Tei's special teriyaki sauce and rolled in fresh toasted sesame seeds.  It's sweet-salty-peppery, crackling crisp outside and really tender inside.  Cat of course was delighted with her favorite, the gyoza; it's something she invariably orders in every Japanese restaurant we go to.  Which means I've tasted a lot of gyoza.  Some are too salty, some soggy, some have a funny taste that's reminiscent of chorizo.  Kenji Tei's gyoza was none of the above -- it was simply excellent.  We had the teriyaki and gyoza with chahan fried rice, and I have to say Kenji Tei's cooks have a nice light hand with oil.  I often find fried rice too oily, but this tasted like it had none at all. 
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Crispy Chicken Teriyaki
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Gyoza with Chahan
And now I've done it.  I just had a nice, heavy dinner -- but my stomach is growling.  Again.  And it wants Japanese.

Kenji Tei

4/22/2012

nice post!

I wish I read this before I visited Kenji-tei. I'll order their chicken teriyaki and cheese gyoza next time I visit :)

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