Facebook vs Reality: MeNami’s Cheesy Oven Baked Udon

MeNami

5469 Yonge St., North York

https://www.menamitoronto.ca/

Aida’s Rating: 4/5

Chante’s Rating: 4/5

Price: $10-30 per entrée

MeNami was first introduced to us through Facebook, the way approximately 80% of all things in the digital age are introduced to people (source: fake news). A moment of mindless scrolling was wonderfully interrupted by a video of a cheesy bowl of udon noodles. This was followed by a Google-driven discovery that such noodles existed here, in Toronto. And just like that, lives were changed.

 

Atmosphere

Both of us are directions-challenged, and the first signs that we made a good decision were the big marquee sign and castle-like doors outside the restaurant. They’re admittedly pretty hard to miss, due to both obviousness and attractiveness.

There was a bit of a line up and the restaurant was clearly busy on a Wednesday night. Good sign for popularity, but bad sign for hungry tummies. Fortunately, the line was cleared quickly and we waited less than five minutes to be seated.

The inside of the restaurant is kind of divey in a good way, with quite a few tables and an open kitchen/bar in the middle. There’s a lot of metal: metal tables and cups with quirky mismatched metal chairs. It’s a small, busy space, with waiters & waitresses weaving in and out of tables quite frequently. If you want bad things to happen, get up without looking to see who’s behind you.

The music is loud and you’ll definitely have to raise your voice to have a conversation, but the selection was good. Think techno-y pop & hip-hop beats. Aida heard Demi Lovato somewhere in there. It’s honestly hard not to head bop along to the music from time to time. Bonus: it makes awkward silences more bearable.

Instagrammable

The light fixtures were pretty cool: driftwood chandelier-type things with naked bulbs. It’s hard to take pictures at night without a flash, though. We tried, but food pictures are notoriously ugly with flash and a lack of photographic training. We need things like LuMee for times like this. But mere mortals like us (and most Android users) were out of luck.

Scientific evidence:

overexposed photograph of oven baked cheese udon noodles at MeNami restaurant in Toronto
#nofilter

Food

Our waiter was kind enough to provide us with menus even though it was completely unnecessary. We both got the Oven Baked Udon, the delicious-looking culprit from the Facebook video (this may be the fastest decision Chante’s ever made).

The noodles cost us $15 each, and we got a large-ish bowl of noodles with some spicy, pickled something (beets?) on the side.

oven baked cheese udon noodles at MeNami in Toronto. Cheese and shrimp tails can be seen in the noodles.

The noodles did not disappoint: they were just as good as we thought they would be, and maybe even better. Garlic wafted up to our noses as soon as our waiter set them down on the table. Eating udon with cheese on it may sound weird, but it tastes a lot like North Americanized fettucine alfredo. And by North Americanized, we mean that it had things that aren’t technically supposed to be in fettucine alfredo, but definitely should be in there anyway. Things like Tex-Mex cheese, shrimps, scallops, and bacon.

Can we pause for a minute and talk about the bacon in this thing? It was loaded with bacon. And the bacon was THICC like your #WCW, flavourful, and not terribly soggy even though it was in a ton of creamy, garlicy, cheesy sauce.

The shrimps were also amazing. Big, and again, full of flavour. It seemed like they cooked everything separately instead of just throwing it all together and cooking it in one dish.

And the cheese. Oh gosh, the cheese. It was everywhere. We thought it would just be baked on the top, but it was actually interspersed all throughout the noodles. So you never stopped tasting how delicious it was. Even Aida, who doesn’t even like cheese, liked this.

We were given chopsticks and a spoon to eat the noodles, which was a challenge for us. Slurping up noodles whilst trying to learn/remember how to use chopsticks on the fly makes for pretty messy eating. We both got sprinkled with sauce, with Chante getting some in her hair and Aida getting some on her neck. Don’t bring a date here unless you both know what you’re doing.

Service

Aida had to flag down a waiter to take our order, which wasn’t the greatest. He was reasonably attentive once we flagged him down, took our orders promptly, and came back a few times to check on us and refill our water. We didn’t wait that long to get our food. He cleared our plates after we were finished, but he didn’t come back with our bill for quite a while. We got our bill after Aida flagged down a waitress, and she didn’t keep us waiting very long.

Conversation

Guys are definitely sending us recycled pictures. Do they think we don’t notice? Spoiler alert: we do.


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