Something old, something new: Tori Ramen takes over Lee and Dee’s BBQ

If you are a kosher-keeping Jew like me, or don’t eat pork for other reasons, Tori Ramen is something to get excited about. Chefs/Owners Jason Dorweiler and Asiya Persaud wanted their new venture to be more accessible to those who don’t eat pork, and wanted to put new twists on some classic recipes. The menu is definitely limited, with ten variations of ramen available to order at the counter. The pricing is typical of other ramen spots in the cities (Zenbox and Moto-i, for example) and a bowl ranges from $7-$13. If you are looking for pork broth ramen you may have to venture into Minneapolis, but if you are looking for unique flavor profiles, this is the place for you. The chicken noodle soup ($12), which contains chashu, yu choy, a soft egg, bean sprouts, burdock, scallion and sesame, won’t disappoint, and disappeared about five minutes after it was brought to my table. If you’re vegetarian or vegan, Tori Ramen has got you covered with the “best seller” vegetarian shoyu ($12), which is made up of celery root, yu choy, bean sprouts, burdock, seaweed, fermented mushrooms, scallion oil, sesame and scallion. While the food is delicious, the space is a little underwhelming, and almost always jam-packed, so if you’re going to venture down Selby, try and avoid the usual dinner and lunch hours.

Whenever a new commercial establishment moves in, I think it’s pretty important to look at who move out, and why. Prior to Tori’s occupation of 161 Victoria Street N., the space was occupied by Lee and Dee’s Barbecue, a local institution that had been in business for 22 years prior to closing in 2016. As to the why, my research has revealed little information about the reasons behind its closure, but online forums make it clear that Lee and Dee’s will be missed.

Yelp Rating: 3.8
Facebook Rating: 4.8
Google Rating: 4.3
Average: 4.3

Tori Ramen is located at 161 Victoria Street N., Saint Paul.