Located just on the southeast edge of Metrotown Mall (outside entrance), Zubu Ramen has moved into the former space of Jinya Ramen. They are among the most serious social distancing / COVID spread preventing places that we have visited and this marks only the second time that we have had to leave contact info for contract tracing purposes. Nicely done folks! We feel safe!
Part of the process includes checking in and finding out when you can expect a table and on a rainy day the outside deck is not available so there are basically about 6 tables. Here is a thought: during these extraordinary times, don't be inclined to linger over the last few sips of soup or wine or whatever as you are used to doing. People are waiting and the restaurant needs to keep serving soup to survive. Take a little walk instead if you want to prolong your date/visit /relaxing afternoon.
We started our meal, as we so often do, with Deep Fried Chicken. This was a pretty generous serving of very good fired chicken thighs at a reasonable price which I just can't recall at the moment. The rather underwhelming salad called a House Salad which was not even dressed, was part of a soup combo of salad and dumplings.
While the greens did not leave us gasping, the pork gyoza were a little more impressive. Very tender and porky, they had a nice sear on the one side. Some of the best dumplings that we have had in a while!
The ramen was decently impressive. I am always drawn to the garlic / black garlic oil / chashu type combinations here called Tonkotsu Kuro. At $14.50, my impression is that ramen is getting more expensive with each new place but that is not correct. The same dish at Ramen Danbo is the same price. This was deliciously garlicky and the chashu gets a nice sear before serving. They make their broth in house but at a central location (there are currently 4 stores in Metro Vancouver).
Marie ordered the Mazesoba. She was less thrilled but it's hard not to compare it to Kokoro where that is their specialty. I kind of liked it though. The sauce is quite strong and tasty when you get everything all mixed together and they are definitely not cheap with chashu. You can order an egg as an extra which we should have done. They have a little longer menu here than at some ramen joints including Temaki.
It's a very pleasant restaurant with wood and brick. There is room for at least a couple of people (currently) to sit and watch the kitchen at work. As previously noted, they are very aware of social distancing but they remain pleasant and friendly.
For what it's worth, we give Zubu Ramen 4 out of 5 and I'm considering changing my scale to scores out of 10. At the moment, I seem to give everything 4 out of 5, don't I?