What is Plan B, aside from some tacky name for birth control? When Plan A doesn’t end up working out? For the more safety-oriented type, it’s understandable why you’d want to have a back-up option; life is unpredictable, and you have to be at least somewhat prepared if your attempts to guess the future don’t work out. On the other hand, by making a Plan B, aren’t you inadvertently undermining Plan A? You’ve already focused your efforts on what you’ll do if your initial plan fails, and that results from a lack of faith in your original sentiments. When you find yourself resorting to Plan B, could that possibly be because you didn’t expend enough energy in trying to make Plan A happen? This is exactly what happened when I found myself at Motomachi Shokudo one evening. Although we were all ready to engorge ourselves upon large, oily bowls of Kintaro, we ended up forfeiting this dream when we were told that the line-up at Kintaro would exceed an hour. As hungry shoppers facing the inevitable drizzle of Vancouver, we needed our noodles immediately.
Luckily, Motomachi and Kintaro are owned by the same group, so visiting this little sister of sorts wasn’t necessarily excruciating. We hypothesized that Motomachi must serve as a recipient and a mean of capitalizing on those who pass on the Kintaro line-up, yet still want ramen. In reality, it is quite a bit different from its more popular counterpart up the street.
The interior is probably the most noteworthy. Although still cramped like any other ramen shop, it is a lot cleaner and modern in appearance. Those who don’t enjoy the rowdiness of the open kitchen might enjoy this type of atmosphere more. Unless you’re willing to wait, you’ll probably find yourself at the square communal table, which surrounds some bundles of wheat. After about 20 minutes of waiting around the dinner hour, we found ourselves seated here.
While Motomachi is distinctive for their bamboo charcoal ramen, none of us elected to order it because of its possible carcinogenic properties. The Next Generation Miso Ramen was the first to arrive. It comes with bean sprouts, BBQ pork, corn, and spring onions and is topped off with shaved leek. I’m not sure what pushes this bowl from our generation into the next, but the portion was too big to handle for that particular eater.
I ordered the nama shoyu ramen. With BBQ pork, a runny egg, green onion, and bean sprouts, this was an acceptable bowl of ramen. While the noodles didn’t quite match Kintaro’s in terms of QQ (did I get that right?), they still provided a decent chew. The broth itself was light and flavourful, although nothing extraordinary; it had a respectable level of saltiness without making you guzzle the ice water continuously. It was a touch more exhilarating than Kintaro’s shoyu, however.
Finally, the spicy miso ramen with organic chicken also made an appearance. It was served with similar toppings to the previously discussed Next Gen Miso. While the organic chicken was an interesting touch, the otherwise extremely courteous staff were quite inflexible towards a request to substitute the chicken with the more standard pork. As for the broth, something about it apparently tasted somewhat burnt, even though this was clearly not the aforementioned charcoal variety. Interesting.
In the end, I think I would have to stick with my Plan A and bear it out in the exhausting Kintaro line-up. Perhaps I was imprinted on it like a duckling to Konrad Lorenz, but something about the elder sister just felt a bit more “right.” That said, if I ended up having to park in the one-hour spot on the surrounding residential streets instead of the two-hour, then I wouldn’t object to hitting up Motomachi once more. It’s not necessarily unfavourable, but it’s not necessarily Kintaro, either.
Conclusion: Andy ate a fair amount.
740 Denman St.