As you may be aware, Harvey and I are big fans of sushi and have been known to review a sushi restaurant or two. It’s not entirely due to a borderline obsession – Kingston has a ton to choose from! Recently a new Japanese restaurant opened that specializes not in sushi, but in noodles – my second favourite thing. Maru (no, not the cat) is located on King Street in a location that has seen a few restaurants come and go over the past decade. I truly hope after our experience this past weekend, that Maru is here to stay.
We started our lunch with the Gyoza: six deep fried pork and vegetable dumplings ($6.95) and Edamame: steamed and lightly salted Japanese soybeans ($3.50). The Edamame were plump and delicious and came almost immediately after ordering. The dumplings were incredible. Everyone at the table agreed that they were quite possibly the best dumplings we’d ever sampled. The meat was moist and perfectly seasoned and the pan frying was just right – crispy on the edges but not greasy. As you can see by the photo, they were quite large and six was plenty for all four of us to enjoy. I’m fairly certain it’s fair to say that these dumplings were made from scratch at the restaurant.
When the waiter arrived with this tray of Salmon Teriyaki: grilled salmon server over a bed of stir-fry ($12.95), we were all surprised that everything on it was for one person. Once again, you can see there is an enormous amount of fish and the side dishes were a happy, unexpected surprise. Our friend who ordered this dish said the fish was cooked a little more than she would have liked but not enough to ruin the meal by any means. It had just the right amount of terriyaki glaze and wasn’t too sweet thanks to the stir fried bean sprouts that helped balance the flavour. For just under $13, I thought this dish offered an incredibly generous amount of food.
This is the Chicken Katsu Ramen: chicken bulet served with rice and salad ($10.95). I’m fairly certain that the next time I visit Maru, I will be going for the shrimp version of this delicious looking soup. Our friend who ordered this one said the flavours were terrific – light curry without overwhelming the whole dish – and the chicken was beautifully cooked. There were enough noodles to satisfy but not so much that they overwhelmed the broth. Seeing as she finished this giant bowl of soup, I would say it was thoroughly enjoyed.
Harvey and I tried the Yaki Ramen: stir fried ramen with chicken and vegetables ($10.95). It was a difficult decision. The menu has photos of all the dishes and they all look terrific. I decided to go with stir fry when I saw it come out for another customer. It came out sizzling and smelling fantastic. The flavour was simple – a pretty standard soy sauce flavour with stir fried bean sprouts and scallions on top – good comfort food. Although I enjoyed it for the most part, I did find it a touch on the greasy side and the amount of chicken it offered was pretty disappointing. I think I got about 4 pieces and they were pretty tiny – some egg on top might be a good addition to this dish. I will definitely opt for soup next time.
The restaurant itself is clean and nicely decorated with many remnants of Ristorante Luigina (RIP) as well as Japanese murals and other decorative items placed around the dining room. The staff were incredibly friendly and greeted us with big smiles the moment we arrived. One fun touch was the little call button on each table. We never had to use it but it made us feel very well taken care of.
I will not hesitate to visit Maru again and I hope you will all do the same. It’s affordable and delicious and most importantly, it’s different. Don’t be fooled by our order either, there are plenty of options for vegetarians and they also do take out. Go have a taste for yourself!