Review: Ninja Club Japanese Bistro

The Ninja Club Japanese Bistro at 10324 Whyte Avenue.

The Ninja Club Japanese Bistro at 10324 Whyte Avenue.

A couple of weeks ago my brother Oscar mentioned to Mike and I that there was a new Japanese/ramen place in town – the Ninja Club Japanese Bistro located at 10324 Whyte Avenue. It’s just over a month old – so still pretty green! Sometimes it’s hard to try a place when it’s still so new because there will inevitably be kinks that they’ve yet to work out but we actually found few flaws when we went to the Ninja Club.

Inside the Ninja Club Japanese Bistro on Whyte Ave.

Inside the Ninja Club Japanese Bistro on Whyte Ave.

Ninja Club is a very narrow, small place – I would say under 40 seats for sure, maybe even under 30 seats. It was partially full when we arrived around 6:30 on a Tuesday night. I had called a couple hours earlier to make a reservation and they hadn’t asked for my name so I don’t think they were concerned that there wouldn’t be enough seats available (still new!)

Ramen options at Ninja Club!

Ramen options at Ninja Club!

It’s a small menu, completely hand-written except for the front page where it showcases its five ramen bowls. The ramen bowls are: Shoyu Ramen, Miso Ramen, Kimuchi Ramen, and Tantan Ramen. The ramen broth choices are soya sauce base, miso paste and miso broth with spicy ground pork kimuchi – a Japanese-style fermented cabbage (very similar to Korean kimchi).

Kimuchi Ramen - Miso broth with spicy groun pork kimchi, Japanese chili oil, vegetable (topping choice $1 each - boiled egg, chicken, sliced pork, and corn) - $12

Kimuchi Ramen – Miso broth with spicy groun pork kimchi, Japanese chili oil, vegetable (topping choice $1 each – boiled egg, chicken, sliced pork, and corn) – $12

The ramen bowls range between $10-$12 and then additional toppings including egg, corn, chicken, beef, or sliced pork, are $1 each. It’s pretty great pricing for a pretty filling bowl of tasty ramen. The noodles have that heavier, handmade quality to them. I asked our server if they made the noodles in-house and they said no, it’s made in a factory. I actually found the noodles tasted almost identical to the ones I had at the #100bowls ramen pop-up at Get Cooking back in November. They got their noodles from a noodle-making master who does it out of her home (her home is like the noodle factory) so I really do wonder if it’s from the same noodle maker.

Shoyu Ramen - Soy sauce base broth, egg noodle, vegetable, sliced pork (topping choice $1 each, boiled egg, chicken, beef, corn) - $10

Shoyu Ramen – Soy sauce base broth, egg noodle, vegetable, sliced pork (topping choice $1 each, boiled egg, chicken, beef, corn) – $10

I thought the Kimuchi ramen was the best of the bunch but all three were pretty good. There was a nice combination of flavours and decent meat/toppings ratio for the price. The broth was good but not great (wouldn’t blow you away). It’s still no King Noodle House Vietnamese pho but for a Japanese ramen bowl it’s a great/welcome addition to Edmonton.

Tantan Ramen - Miso broth with spicy ground pork, baby corn, Japanese chili oil, vegetable (topping choice $1 each, boiled egg, chicken, beef, sliced pork, corn) - $12

Tantan Ramen – Miso broth with spicy ground pork, baby corn, Japanese chili oil, vegetable (topping choice $1 each, boiled egg, chicken, beef, sliced pork, corn) – $12

They offer some of the cheapest dinner bento boxes that I’ve ever seen in the city – but we didn’t order it so I don’t actually know how large the box would be. They have some sushi rolls but not as extensive as some other Japanese spots in the city though certainly for some of the lowest prices.

The menu at Ninja Club!

The menu at Ninja Club!

We tried the Dynamite Big Roll – which came with 10 pieces of deep fried prawns, avocado, cucumber, imitation crab, flying fish roe, spicy sauce, mayo, and house sauce ($14). It was great! Love the trio of sauces and the texture of these rolls and the presentation was very appealing.

Dynamite Big Roll (10 pieces) - Big size roll, deep fried prawn, avocado, cucumber, imitation crab, flying fish roe, spicy sauce, mayo and house sauce - $14

Dynamite Big Roll (10 pieces) – Big size roll, deep fried prawn, avocado, cucumber, imitation crab, flying fish roe, spicy sauce, mayo and house sauce – $14

We also tried their six-piece salmon sashimi ($8) and it was some of the juiciest salmon sashimi I’ve had in a long time.

Six-piece sashimi for $8 at Ninja Club!

Six-piece salmon sashimi for $8 at Ninja Club!

The service was a little slow. Our sashimi didn’t come out until we were already half-way through our ramen bowls. But that’s really it for kinks from my perspective. The server herself was really friendly. The ramen didn’t blow me away but it was good and filling – and at a great price. When my brother went, they told him that they were planning on adding more items to their menu, they just didn’t want to do it all right away. They’re keeping it a bit smaller and more manageable as they start out, which is a smart move.

Sometimes I feel like Edmonton is over-saturated with Japanese restaurants (even though Japanese is in my Top 3 favourite food genres) so if you’re not offering something a bit different, or you’re not offering something amazing, then you can really get lost in all the other competition but I think Ninja Club obviously has a great location, what we tried was good (not blow-away, but good) and most importantly they are doing something slightly different as there isn’t a whole lot of ramen offerings in the city. They’re jumping on that craze right now and I can see the advantages for them of getting on it early and establishing themselves as a ramen destination in Edmonton. It’s a must – try if you’re looking for the perfect ramen bowl. I don’t know if it is the perfect ramen bowl but it’s a pretty good ramen bowl that’s definitely worth checking out!

You can also check out my pal Andrea’s review of Ninja Club too and let me know what you think if you go and try it!

Linda


Ninja Club on Urbanspoon

Review: North 53

North 53 at 10240 124 Street!

North 53 at 10240 124 Street!

A couple of weeks ago I had the pleasure of being invited to North 53 (10240 124 Street) for their menu re-launch. I had not been to North 53 since it opened about a year ago and admittedly, had not been interested in going previously because the menu and style seemed a bit too fussy for my liking.

A peek at the new North 53 Executive Chef Filliep Lament!

A peek at the new North 53 Executive Chef Filliep Lament!

Last month, that previously fussier style changed with a new menu and a new executive chef (and I’m told, new chairs in the dining room! ;)). I was invited to an intimate dinner/menu relaunch, where owner Kevin Cam announced that that night was the start of a new chapter for the hip spot along 124 Street.

The bar at North 53!

The bar at North 53!

This new menu is meant to appeal to those looking for a delicious (and again, not as fussy) dining experience, or those looking to grab some late night grub and shared plates. In fact a great perk to the new North 53 is that it serves food until 2 a.m. on Friday and Saturday nights! Although I’m not someone who is often up late enough to try and find late night eats, I appreciate restaurants who offer this because so few do in Edmonton (and so few offer good late night eats).

The menu for North 53 relaunch event!

The menu for North 53 relaunch event!

Everything we tried during this special evening you can get on the regular menu. We started off with Chicharron (seasoned with dried scallop, mussel, and salmon dust – $6). This makes me think of a much tastier Asian shrimp cracker. Careful if you laugh while holding a Chicharron in your hand, the dust will fall all over! ;)

Chicharron (Seaoned with Dried Scallop, Mussel and Salmon Dust) at North 53!

Chicharron (Seaoned with Dried Scallop, Mussel and Salmon Dust) at North 53!

Next up was the Popcorn Chicken ($8). Warm, fun and delicious. This is a must try!

Popcorn Chicken at North 53!

Popcorn Chicken at North 53!

Next we were served Marinated & Griddled Mushrooms with Poached Egg Yolk ($8). Super oozy egg (perfect) and if you’re a fan of mushrooms, you’ll love this. It’s the perfect mushroom slime (which sounds bad, but I love it. lol)

Marinated & Griddled Mushroom with Poached Egg Yolk at North 53!

Marinated & Griddled Mushroom with Poached Egg Yolk at North 53!

The feast continued with a Rutabaga and Oxtail Tart ($13) – flakey and tasty, there was a good combination of textures here with the pastry and filling.

Rutabaga and Oxtail Tart at North 53!

Rutabaga and Oxtail Tart at North 53!

The salad option was very appropriately called The Crunchy Salad! Featuring raw, pickled and fried vegetables ($13). There was kale, cabbage, lettuce, garlic cream sauce, fried onions, and more. This was a really fun dish to eat because my table spent a bit of time really nibbling on each veggie, trying to figure out which was what. There was one particular crunch and flavour that really stood out for me, but I just could not figure out what it was. (Will need to order it again to see!!) This salad was very flavourful and really was a texture-splosion (that’s a word).

Crunchy Salad (Raw, Pickled & Fried Vegetables) at North 53!

Crunchy Salad (Raw, Pickled & Fried Vegetables) at North 53!

Throughout the meal, each dish was paired with a wine and some were paired with fun cocktails. I wasn’t drinking that night (though I should have, with the amount of tasty options they were serving up!) but at one point the bartender came and talked up North 53’s cocktail wheel. What a fantastic and fun idea! (which he admits he didn’t come up with on his own – borrowed from a different bartender at a different restaurant in a different city). But if you’re not sure what cocktail to try, how about getting a custom cocktail based on what you’re feeling in a spirit base, and flavour?

The drink wheel! at North 53!

The drink wheel! at North 53!

The food continues with Clam and Scallop Fettuccine with White Wine & Garlic ($20). Not my favourite pasta ever but it was certainly good, and came out in a very good portion size.

Clam and Scallop Fettuccine with White Wine & Garlic at North 53!

Clam and Scallop Fettuccine with White Wine & Garlic at North 53!

The star dish of the night in my opinion was the Whole Roasted Chicken with Steel Cut Oats and Offal Stuffing! At $50 (on the regular menu), this is a pricy but very delicious and therefore worth the money dish. As soon as they placed the chicken on our table there was an amazing smell that made us all sort of buckle in our seats.

Whole Roasted Chicken with Steel Cut Oats and Offal Stuffing at North 53!

Whole Roasted Chicken with Steel Cut Oats and Offal Stuffing at North 53!

Tender, juicy, perfect! Just revel in the #chickenporn here.

Michelle digging into the Whole Roasted Chicken!

Michelle digging into the Whole Roasted Chicken!

The meal wrapped up with a Peach Sorbet ($3) and an Apple Tart with Cheddar Shortbread and Vanilla Ice Cream ($10). I’m not big on desserts but I thought the peach sorbet was very good – refreshing, and had a kind of surprisingly gritty texture to it that I equate to black sesame ice cream (I love it). The apple tart was tasty, but I wouldn’t say it was a blow-me-away apple dessert.

Peach Sorbet at North 53!

Peach Sorbet at North 53!

Apple tart at North 53!

Apple tart at North 53!

Overall – wow! What a menu. What a relaunch. I am so excited to return to North 53 to try some of these dishes again (the popcorn chicken, mushroom & poached eggs, crunchy salad, and whole roasted chicken are musts), and check out some dishes I didn’t try during this night. I’m also planning on making sure I am NOT the designated driver for my next trip to North 53 because I really want to give the cocktail wheel a try (fun, mystique, surprise!) but there was also a few cocktails on their regular menu that my table got a chance to try that were really damn good. North 53 is definitely a go-to spot if you’re looking for some fantastic, unique cocktails.

I really want to also highlight North 53’s adorable plates. Kevin says he got many of them at vintage antique stores so they’re very delicate. I love them! Scroll back up and pay attention to the plates if you weren’t already thinking in your head ‘man those plates are really cute’ as you were scrolling through.

Round of applause for the great team at North 53!

Round of applause for the great team at North 53!

Congratulations to Kevin, executive chef Filliep Lament, and the whole team at North 53! I love the new menu, the new style, and am looking forward to taking part in this new chapter of yours.

(Fun fact: It turns out executive chef Filliep Lament, sous chef Joshua Dissanayake, former exec chef Ben Stanley, and another North 53 chef whose name escapes me at the moment (sorry) are big fans of my parent’s restaurant King Noodle House and are often there eating our pho! Well, I say often, but since the menu relaunch actually they haven’t been around that much, so that’s the only negative to this new menu! Lol.)

Try to get to North 53 before Dec. 19 because they’ve got an awesome promotion going to support Santa’s Anonymous:

But if you can’t get there in the next couple of weeks, just make sure you plan to go some point soon in the new year. Love the vibe, love the food, love the new style!

Linda


North 53 on Urbanspoon

What to do for New Year’s Eve: 2014 Edmonton Event Listing

NYE list last updated: Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Photo credit: Anthony P. Jones via www.photos.edmonton.ca.

Photo credit: Anthony P. Jones via www.photos.edmonton.ca.

Each year I try to compile a list of New Year’s Eve events to help myself and others plan out how they’d like to ring in the new year. This year my husband and I hope to be moved into our new home so we’ll probably spend NYE indoors but I still wanted to keep my list going for everyone else! (Though I have wanted to go to the Sugar Swing New Year’s Eve party 3 years in a row and still have yet to try it so maybe this is the year!)

This list will be updated as I find new events and as event information becomes available. Keep checking back for updates – usually more events are announced closer to the date.

Please leave me a comment below, send me an email or tweet me with any events you think should be added to the list! I’m always looking for new ideas!

Here’s what I’ve come up with so far:

New Year’s Eve Events in Edmonton for Dec. 31, 2014

New Year’s Eve Edmonton Downtown
Time: 6 p.m.
Location: Churchill Square
Cost: Free
Details: It’s the annual New Year’s Eve festival in downtown Edmonton. There will be various family friendly activities, indoor and outdoor, performances, fireworks and more! Complete details to be announced.
Website: New Year’s Eve Edmonton Downtown

Sugar Swing Dance Club Good Old Hollywood: A New Year’s Eve Gala
Time: Beginner Swing Dance Lesson starts at 8 p.m. Gala from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m.
Location: Sugar Foot Ballroom, 10545 81 Ave.
Cost: TBD (but similar to last year’s, which was $40 per person)
Details: Sugar Swing’s annual New Year’s Eve Party is the best way to bring in the New Year, Held every year since 2007, this incredible event is always sold out! This year the glitz and glamour of Hollywood comes to Sugar Swing as we present Good Old Hollywood: A New Year’s Eve Gala. On December 31st, we will immerse you in the fantastic world of celebrities, stars, and characters of classic Hollywood films from the 1920’s-1960’s. Our classic Hollwood-themed party will feature live performances, food and champagne, vintage fashion and cocktails, as well as Sugar Swing’s finest DJs playing your favourite tunes from the 1920s-1940s for your dancing pleasure.
Website: Sugar Swing Dance Club Good Old Hollywood: A New Year’s Eve Gala

Edmonton International New Year’s Eve Gala
Time: Cocktails 7 p.m. Dance & Cirque du Soleil-style show from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. and Dance from 10 p.m. to 3 a.m.
Location: Fantasyland Hotel, Beverly Hills Ballroom
Cost: $150 per person.
Details: A spectacular evening of food, fun and entertainment in support of the Stollery Children’s Hospital Foundation. One of the Top 10 New Years Eve Events In Canada. Our guests will experience an unforgettable evening of unparalleled entertainment at this highly exclusive event in the Fantasyland Hotel. Entertainment will include a beautiful, stylish and hypnotic circus performances and plenty of whoops and ahhhs….
Website: Edmonton International NYE Gala

15th Annual Latin New Years
Time: Doors open at 6 p.m. Dinner at 7:45 p.m. Dance at 9 p.m.
Location: Delta Edmonton South
Cost: $60 (Dance only), $89 (Early bird Dinner & Dance)
Details: Latin New Year’s Eve 2014 at The Delta Edmonton South Hotel will be an extravagant NYE to remember. Sit Down and relax to the beautiful Latin rhythms of International Bachata Artist DOMENIC MARTE and TREMENDO from Puerto Rico. Local Artist Edgar Cruz will also open for the Headliners. Party this NYE away with Edmonton’s hottest Latin DJs, DJ LEO RL Playing the best in Latin, and Top 40.
Website: 14th Annual Latin New Years

New Year’s Eve Celebration at the Comic Strip
Time: 7 p.m. or 10 p.m.
Location: The Comic Strip, West Edmonton Mall
Cost: $30, $56, $68
Details: Ring the New Year in laughing at the Comic Strip! Join us December 31 , 2014 for our New Years Eve Celebration, 3 great acts, 3 great packages and party favours! Featuring Mike Vecchione, Sean Lecomber and Paul Myerhaug.
Website: New Year’s Eve Celebration at The Comic Strip

A License to Thrill: New Year’s Eve Party (Northlands)
Time: Begins at 5:30 p.m.
Location: Northlands Park (7410 Borden Park Rd).
Cost: Call 780.471.3380 for information (last year it was $60 per person)
Details: Park. Northlands Park. The place where New Year’s Eve leaves you shaken AND stirred! Choose from a variety of different packages and get ready for a night of glamour, prizes, intrigue and live racing action.
Website: A License to Thrill: New Year’s Eve Party (Northlands)

Jazz New Year’s Eve
Time: Doors open at 5:30 p.m., Dinner/Show starts at 6:45 p.m.
Location: Delta Edmonton South
Cost: $110 (Early Bird Special Dinner and Dance), $125 (Regular Dinner & Dance)
Details: The perfect atmosphere with THE SWING KINGS with Sandro Dominelli & Shelley Jones. Over the years this event is the number one seller in Edmonton and brings you a four course plate service dinner and entertainment you don’t want to miss. This famous band will keep you on your toes all night and will showcase fireworks from Downtown. Book your tickets soon because this event is a SOLD OUT SHOW every year!
Website: Jazz New Years Eve

Funk in the New Year with the Super Band!
Time: 9 p.m.
Location: On the Rocks (11740 Jasper Avenue)
Cost: $40 (includes dinner) $25 (just the show)
Details: Dance yourself in to a brand new year with the Funkalicious SuperBand!! A 9 piece group that will keep you grooving right in to 2015!!
Website: Funk in the New Year with the Super Band!

Celebrate New Year’s Eve with ABBA!
Time: Doors open at 7 p.m. Show starts at 8 p.m.
Location: Central Lions Senior Citizens Recreation Centre (11113 113 St).
Cost: $100 per person
Details: Celebrate New Year’s Eve with Abba again! includes delux buffet and complimentary champagne, with special guests the Rault Brother Bands.
Website: Celebrate New Year’s Eve with ABBA!

New Year’s Eve with Elvis!
Time: Doors open at 7 p.m., dinner at 8 p.m., show & dancing at 9 p.m.
Location: APEX Casino (24 Boudreau Rd, St Albert)
Cost: $99 per person
Details: New Year’s Eve with Elvis! (Robin Kelly’s tribute to Elvis). Includes complimentary toast at midnight, door prizes and buffet dinner.
Website: New Year’s Eve with Elvis!

Rooster Davis Group with Ann Vriend at Blue Chair Cafe
Time: 7 p.m.
Location: Blue Chair Cafe (9624 76 Ave).
Cost: $120 per person
Details: A rocking New Orleans-style party including an exquisite seven-course dinner! New Year’s Eve at the Blue Chair Cafe with Rooster Davis Group with Ann Vriend.
Website: Rooster Davis Group with Ann Vriend at Blue Chair Cafe

Top of the Rocks: A British Invasion New Year’s Eve
Time: 6:30 p.m.
Location: Mayfield Dinner Theatre (16615 109 Avenue)
Cost: $169
Details: Spend New Year’s Eve watching Top of the Rocks: A British Invasion at the Mayfield Dinner Theatre! Jumping to the other side of the pond, this year we celebrate all things British. From the original Invasion of the 60’s to the second wave of the 70’s, the new wave of the 80’s, right up to the superstars of the present day, TOP OF THE POPS captures it all!! With the music of the Beatles, the Stones, The Hollies, The Who, Adele, Amy Winehouse and everything in between, this year’s rock ‘n roll extravaganza pays homage to the British contribution to the world of popular music. An evening of high-energy hilarity awaits you with an ensemble cast that will knock your socks off!
Website: Top of the Rocks: A British Invasion New Year’s Eve

New Year’s Eve at the Melting Pot
Time:
Location: The Melting Pot (2920 Calgary Trail)
Cost: TBD
Details: Celebrate this New Year’s Eve at The Melting Pot! This unique New Year’s idea will be the best one you have made yet! From a burst of joy after a bite of fondue, or a satisfied sigh after a sip of wine, to the simple sparkle of a smile, or a twinkle in an eye—there will surely be fireworks. Only instead of just watching them, you’ll be creating them. Celebrate this New Year’s dinner with taste and style. Fruit-infused specialty drinks. Champagne. Chocolate covered strawberries.
Website: New Year’s Eve at the Melting Pot

Gotham New Year’s Eve Party at the Red Piano
Time: Dinner and show starts at 6 p.m. Show only begins at 9 p.m.
Location: The Red Piano (West Edmonton Mall)
Cost: $165 per person (dinner & show), $55 (show only)
Details: The Red Piano presents GOTHAM New Year’s Eve Party! Dinner, dancing, live duelling piano show.
Website: Gotham New Year’s Eve Party at the Red Piano

New Year’s Eve at the Edmonton Petroleum Club
Time: Dinner and show starts at 6 p.m. Show only begins at 9 p.m.
Location: Edmonton Petroleum Club (11110 – 108 Street)
Cost: $70 per person
Details: Celebrate with us as we head towards our 65th year with a seven-course plated dinner, live band (Aura) and dancing!
Website: New Year’s Eve at the Edmonton Petroleum Club

Muttart Masquerade New Year’s Eve
Time: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Location: Muttart Conservatory (9626 96A St).
Cost: Regular admission
Details: Bring the family to Muttart and celebrate the New Year early! We’re putting on a masquerade ball, so come in costume and enjoy the live music, crafts, and fun activities for everyone. Enjoy hourly midnight countdowns with treats to ring in 2015!
Website: Muttart Masquerade New Year’s Eve

The Arterys New Year’s Eve Massive! Featuring the Collective West
Time: 9 p.m.
Location: The Artery (9535 Jasper Ave).
Cost: $12 (in advance), $15 at the door
Details: Ring in the new year at The Artery with Luke Thompson and the Collective West!
Website: The Arterys New Year’s Eve Massive! Featuring the Collective West

New Year’s Eve at Von’s
Time: TBD (2 seatings)
Location: Von’s Steak House & Oyster Bar (10309 81 Ave).
Cost: $90 per person (also more expensive packages available)
Details: Vons will be hosting an exquisite four course meal prepared by Executive Chef Shane Chartrand.
Website: New Year’s Eve at Von’s

Boodang New Year’s Eve with Tiesto
Time: Starts at 7 p.m.
Location: Shaw Conference Centre
Cost: $119 (Regular) $195 (VIP)
Details: This New Years Eve, we welcome you back to the Shaw Conference Centre for an event of epic proportions. The world’s biggest DJ returns to Edmonton after two years hiatus to perform on the most celebrated night of the year.. NEW YEARS EVE!
Website: Boodang New Year’s Eve with Tiesto

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New Year’s Eve at Home

Fondue night
Last year Mike and I invited some friends over to do a fondue party for New Year’s Eve! It was so much fun. We got three fondue pots and a hot stone grill, had way more food that we needed (that’s always better than not having enough), and had so much fun! Here’s some tips from Canadian Living on hosting your own fondue party.

Board game party
Mike and I are big fans of board games! This New Year’s we’re excited to crack open Telestrations, try Cards Against Humanity, and guaranteed fun Catchphrase, Settlers, Cranium, and more! Here’s a list of some popular board games you could try for a board game New Year’s Eve night.

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New Year’s Day

New Year’s Day Brunch at Edmonton Park
Time: Jan. 1, 2015: 10 a.m., 11 a.m., 12 p.m., 1 p.m.
Location: Hotel Selkirk, Fort Edmonton Park
Cost: $39.95 (adults), $32.95 (seniors), $18.95 (children 12 and under), free (children under 2)
Details: Start the new year with a bang. Bring the gang for a slap-up meal at the historic Hotel Selkirk. Enjoy some old fashioned hospitality and then take a stroll around the Park. Culinary Director Jasmin Kobajica has created a menu with everyone’s favourite brunch staples, a delectable carving station and luscious chocolate fountain.
Website: New Year’s Day Brunch at Fort Edmonton Park

* There’s usually a New Year’s Day brunch (buffet) at most Edmonton hotels! *

Linda