Critic steps out of his comfort zone and enjoys Japanese food.
BY ALI ABUBAKR ’24
Never have I had more fun eating at a restaurant than I had at Tensuke Express. I’m usually a picky eater (I don’t know what they were thinking letting me do a food re-view), so when eating out I like to go to places where I know what to expect and eat large amounts of simple, plain food. If I’m feeling adventurous one day, I’ll let them put lettuce on my burger. So when I walked into the cute, welcoming Japanese restaurant, I was somewhat intimidated.
Tensuke Express is a Japanese ramen restaurant at the Kenny Centre Mall’s Japanese Marketplace. Sur- rounded by other Japanese restaurants and stores, Tensuke Express is conveniently located for shoppers and diners coming from other establishments. It has a large seating area, yet still manages to appear cozy and at the same time modern. Very clean bathrooms, an organized trash and recycling system and Japanese pop music playing over the speakers created a very pleasant dining experience.
The most Japanese food I’ve had are those orange packeted stove made ramen packets from a grocery store and I might’ve had some sushi like four years ago. So when it came time for me to order at Tensuke Express, I ordered what the menu said was the number one favorite, the Grilled Chicken Paitan Ramen for $13.50. I also took a large gamble and ordered some barbecue eel on rice. I had absolutely no idea what to expect with the eel, but I was excited when I sat down at my table to wait for my food.
After a 15-minute wait, my food was ready. The ramen was served in a large, dark bowl and came with a generous amount of thick ra-men noodles, a few large pieces of grilled chicken, half a boiled egg, green onions and spinach, all soaking in a delicious-ly warm white creamy soup. The noodles were extreme-ly tasty and worked great with the well-cooked grilled chicken. Along with the greens and the egg, you’ve got all your food pyramid sections covered. I had some trouble eating all of this with chopsticks, but I persevered. It just took me a very long time. I was very pleased with myself and satisfied after I finished the ramen but those feelings quickly dissolved as I looked over at the eel.
The eel didn’t look bad at all. Two rectangular pieces of fish-looking meat covered in BBQ sauce and sat on top of white rice looked somewhat appetizing, but my obviously inexperienced self reeled at the fact that I was about to eat an eel. Yet after all my worrying, the under- whelming result was meat that had little to no taste, and a mouthful of BBQ sauce.
All in all, stepping out of my comfort zone turned out to be suc-cessful. Along the way I had to over-come hardships like the chopsticks and the eel, but the main dish of ra-men was absolutely fantastic and the restaurant itself is a wonderfully cute place. Because of this, Tensuke Mar-ket is the first restaurant ever to be Ali Approved.