Benkei Ramen (Crossroads) Fairview Review

Benkei Ramen is a popular chain of Japanese ramen noodle soup restaurants, with five locations around Vancouver. The company even expanded into Japan! We’ve previously dined at their Kitsilano and Robson locations and thoroughly enjoyed both restaurants, so we thought we’d try Benkei Ramen’s Fairview location, situated in the Crossroads condo development on the corner of West Broadway and Cambie Street (in the same building as Whole Foods [and here] and across the street from Falafel Plus).

We were in the area on a weeknight and were craving ramen. The time was 4:58pm, the restaurant looked open, so we opened the door. However, an employee yelled from the kitchen saying that they don’t open until five, and made us wait outside, in the freezing cold and rain. A lineup of additional customers began to form behind us. A more customer-service-friendly approach would have been to offer patrons the opportunity to wait inside, at the warm front entrance while the staff were finishing up their opening duties. And two minutes turned into ten. We did think to ourselves, are we really waiting outside freezing our tushes off for ramen? Service failed to improve once we were finally allowed inside. It’s one of those things about Vancouver…customer service seems to be lacking in many establishments. I’ve said it before, but Taco Bell in Washington State provides better service than a lot of restaurants in Vancouver. Anyway, on to the decor and food…

The Crossroads Benkei has a similar layout as both their Kits and Robson shops, with bamboo dividers and wooden stool/box seats. Menu items and prices are also the same as their other restaurants.

Whenever we eat ramen, we always tend to order the same varieties. Pictures above is Gary’s Shio or “salt” ramen that has a pale yellowish broth – This Fukuoka-style ramen contains collagen and calcium derived from its pork bone soup. He ordered extra meat for an additional two dollars.

Miso – This Hokkaido ramen is made with rich chicken and pork soup and cooked with Benkei’s special house miso sauce that has an earthy aroma and rich flavour. I added a boiled egg for an extra charge of fifty cents. Both of these ramen dishes included bamboo shoots, sliced green onions, and bean sprouts. However, to my surprise, random bits of ground mystery-meat were hiding at the bottom of my bowl. The quality of ingredients did not seem up to Benkei standards. Also, pork slices were much fattier than we previously experienced at the two other Benkei locations. That’s one of the attributes I enjoy about Benkei is that their pork is leaner than comparable ramen restaurants. Therefore, this particular Benkei was a disappointment for me. Perhaps it was just an off-day for this Benkei, or maybe the restaurant was understaffed…

Overall, Benkei Ramen Crossroads in Fairview is not the Benkei chain’s best restaurant in terms of food and service; we prefer their Kitsilano and Robson locations. If we had to choose, the Robson Benkei wins top prize, probably because they have to compete with highly praised Hokkaido Ramen Santouka across the street.

Benkei Ramen (Crossroads) on Urbanspoon

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About Taya & Gary

Gary and Taya Ng are the Founders of Eating In Vancouver & the World. This husband and wife team search for the best dining experiences - including restaurant launches, new menu tastings and culinary events. Learn more about the couple here and connect with them on Twitter and Facebook.

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