Shikiji Japanese Noodles & Sushi is one of only a handful of Japanese restaurants in Calgary that offers big bowls of ramen noodle soup (not the packaged variety that is often the staple food of University students).  When I’m in the mood for Japanese food, but something that is not strictly of the sushi/sashimi variety, Shikiji is my go-to place.

We headed there on a Friday evening last week with Mark’s parents.  They’d just moved into their condo in South Calgary and we thought it’d be a perfect introduction to one of Calgary’s culinary delights.  We had a bit of a timing issue as we lost track of time – I had to call Shikiji a few times to let them know of our delay (apologising profusely) while Mark navigated the always-busy roads of Calgary.  Thankfully, the folks at Shikiji were really understanding and were thankful that I had at least called to let them know that we’d be late.

The thing about Shikiji is that it’s located near one of the busiest intersections of the city and if you blink, you miss it.  So if you don’t know it exists, it’s probably never going to be one of those places that you just happen to stumble upon.  I don’t think they have an issue with foot traffic as they’re well-known and always busy (they’re tremendously popular with the lunch crowd so if you don’t get there by 11:40am at the latest, you’ll be waiting for a table – they fill up quick!).  It’s also not an especially big place, so that contributes to the fullness as well.  Luckily we made a reservation so we were promptly seated.

For appetizers, we decided to share the edamame, gyoza dumplings, and shrimp tempura.

It would take a really special person to mess up steamed edamame and pan-fried gyoza dumplings (I mean, seriously, they’re pretty standard issue).  No issues with either at all – edamame was nicely steamed and perfectly salted.  The gyoza were fried nicely and the filling was still moist – bonus points!  I absolutely LOVE shrimp tempura so I can’t say anything bad about it.  Compared to other shrimp tempuras I’ve had in the past (and oh, I have had SO much), I rate it as Very Good.  Not too greasy with a super crispy batter.  Can’t go wrong!

As for our mains, Mark and I both got the Chili Goma Ramen and Mark’s parents both got the BBQ Pork Ramen (with a choice of fatty or lean pork – they got one of each).

I don’t know why I always forget – but I do… these ramen bowls are HUGE.  It doesn’t look like much, but they’re honestly gigantic.  I won’t complain though, as the Chili Goma is one of my favourites.  The soup is rich with just the right amount of heat from the chili oil.  It’s epic decadence in soup form.  The noodles are always perfectly done – slightly chewy and they always stay firm in the soup.  The topping is a savoury mix of ground pork, green onions, chopped peanuts, and shiitake mushrooms.  Once it’s all mixed together, it’s heaven.  But next time I think I might have to convince Mark to get just one bowl of ramen and share it amongst the two of us.  And it’s not something that can easily be wrapped up to take home, unless they separate the noodles from the soup to prevent the noodles from going soggy.  Sigh.  WHY DO I ALWAYS DO THIS TO MYSELF?  It’s sooo good, but it’s WAY too much food for my stomach to handle.  The soups also tend to be on the salty side, so all that salty, savoury broth can get a bit too much to keep consuming.

Oh, and let’s not forget, we also got the Assorted Sushi & Sashimi plate.

I can’t comment too much on it as I was too busy trying to finish my ramen to have much of the sushi or sashimi.  Mark and his parents said it was really good – very fresh and good quality.  We are totally gluttons for punishment.  I don’t know how they did it, but amongst the three of them, the plate was devoured in its entirety (minus the plate because, well, eating a plate is just not acceptable in a public place).

All in all, a satisfying meal, although I felt like I was going to explode and could hardly walk.  The price-point is on the higher end, but it’s good value, especially if a bowl of ramen can be shared amongst two people (which I really need to start doing, or just go really, really hungry).

Shikiji Japanese Noodles & Sushi
1608 Centre St NE
Calgary, AB T2E 2R9
Phone: (403) 520-0093
http://www.shikiji.ca

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