Today’s ramen adventure took me to the Ramen Parlor in San Mateo. Highly recommended by co-workers and decent reviews on Yelp, I figured this would be a good place to start the ramen writing. Located in downtown San Mateo, at 9th ave. and B street, Ramen Parlor is a small unassuming establishment that honestly looks to be built into an old gas station. The decor and atmosphere isn’t anything to write home about, but given there was a line of at least 20 people when we arrived, they take their ramen seriously.
The choice for today was one of the often recommended specialties the Crab Spicy Miso Ramen. I figured, let’s start off with what everyone says they do well. I can go back and test out the basics again, but if their signature dish flops I am going to question the rest. The dish consists of a spicy miso broth, fresh soft shell lump crab meat, a piece of deep fried soft shell crab, roasted chāshū, green onion stalks, shungiku, and bean sprouts. I also decided to add corn to the dish for $1.00 more. My only complaint with the toppings is for it being a deluxe item on the menu it does not come with an egg of any kind.
My initial impression when the bowl arrived at the table was when they offer extra spicy, they mean it. The broth had a fantastic deep red hue from the chili oil and chili spices that really carried a fantastic aroma. Toppings were all neatly arranged and nicely presented, and everything looked fresh. First taste of the broth revealed a very rich, heavy flavor that was nutty and salty. The spice came on nicely and really helped carry the base miso flavors. The corn really complemented the broth well.
The noodles were decently portioned and tasted great. They were a little bit on the softer side then I normally prefer, but weren’t overcooked or mushy in any way.
And finally the toppings. The crab really added a fantastic flavor and element to the ramen that I haven’t had before. The veggies were all fresh and crisp, with a nice crunch. The chāshū was spot on and was served in a way I haven’t seen very often. Beyond being roasted, the individual slices were each flash grilled before being placed in the bowl. The grilling added a fantastic smokey flavor that really stood out. Easily some of the best chāshū I have had in a while.
Overall I was very pleased with my first visit to Ramen Parlor. The food was great, price was decent, and service was good. I’ll be back to try their other offerings for sure.
- Dish: Crab Spicy Miso Ramen
- Price: $10.50
- Extras: Sweet corn $1.00