There are four Zubu Ramen restaurants in Metro Vancouver but only the Olympic Village location has the distinction of being called a 'food hall'. The Food Hall even seems to occupy a unique location on their website, separate from the other three locations. I'm not quite sure why that is and I hope they don't feel excluded!
Not found right in the tourist zone, but at 159 West 4th, Food Hall by Zubu is only open Monday to Friday (which has frustrated me for some time) and clearly caters to a different clientele starting with lunchtime for the folks who work nearby. They are open until 8:30 Monday to Thursday but only until 2:00 on Friday. That is the most time that I have ever spent on restaurant opening hours for this blog.
They have a few small items on a $5 menu. I always like this as it means we can try more items like the Crispy Shrimp. These were salty and completely crunchable, shell and all!. Accompanied by sesame seeds and crispy wontons bits, this was $5 well spent!
Also off the $5 menu, we tried Ajitama Potato Salad which enjoyed the bright flavour of pickled radish and white pepper mayonnaise among other things. Very nice and unique!
Of course, we came for the soup, starting with the Tonkatsu Ramen (the egg was an extra but you gotta have it). It had everything we love from black garlic to wood ear mushrooms and nice thin noodles. The broth was rich and we both gave it thumbs up!
We have become partial to Mazesoba as well. We liked the thicker noodles and the multiple tasty bits including wood ear mushrooms again, sansho oil (sansho is a pepper related to Szechuan peppers), chashu, etc. that all mixed into a complex whole dish.
Another surprisingly great dish was the Carmelized Cauliflower and Broccoli from the Small Plates part of the menu. Cashews, garlic and obviously carrots rounded out this salty tasty dish that made us feel we were making a dent in our vegetable requirements for the day. Highly recommended!
The cavernous (in a good way) nature of this place makes the name Food Hall seem appropriate. We were pretty comfortable on bar stools and gig communal tables and the decor was kind of chic all round. The folks working here were friendly and the food showed up in decent time. There are a few more things on the menu such as the Japanese curries that we would like to try. If you're around during the week, this place is definitely worth a visit!
Food 4 out of 5
Comfort 4 out of 5
Service 4 out of 5
Value 4 out of 5
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