MENYA INSHOU RAMEN: Spicy Tonkotsu Ramen

I always love it when a new Ramen joint opens close to work, it makes me happy to enjoy a bowl of goodness at lunch and having multiple options to choose from Menya Inshou Sushi is a regular haunt for me, they have some of the best Katsu Pork Curry this side of Tokyo so I was happily excited when Menyu Inshou Ramen opened up next door! The sister restaurants are honestly next door to each other and both are great but lets talk about the Ramen!

We walked in right at noon and got the last table in the medium sized room, it was already humming! As you walk in, the big open kitchen with 5 stools are on the left and the rest of the joint is seating. We looked at the menu, ordered some Chicken Karrage (which was good) and both went for the Tonkotsu but I made mine spicy and ordered corn. According to the healthy-sized menu, Inshou‘s Tonkotsu Ramen includes pork bone broth, chashu pork, bean sprouts, green onion, cloud ear mushrooms & red ginger. Classic!

I was greeted with a large bowl filled with corn, green onions and a perfect fatty looking broth. My spice was presented on the side so I could add as little or as much as I wanted. I tried the broth pre-Spice and was happy with the rich complexity of the Pork broth, this was a solid Tonkotsu – not mind blowing but solid. The pork was tasty, the egg good and the veggies fresh but I wanted that hit of spice. BOOM! Inshou is not kidding when they say spicy as within three spoons I was already sweating! This was some serious spice but Im really happy that it was not overpowering in flavor so you could still enjoy the Ramen but still get some intense heat.

I’m happy that San Mateo has another tasty Ramen joint to choose from. The Tonkotsu Ramen is a solid addition and next time I will try a different bowl, maybe the Tanmen Ramen or the “house special” Inshou Ramen. It will be tough for me to deny my stomach that amazing Katsu Curry from the sister Inshou joint next door but I’m happy there’s more ramen to choose from!

Inshou Ramen

Dish: Extra Rich Tokushima Ramen
Location: Tonkotsu Ramen (add “spicy” & “corn”)
Address: 2944 S. Norfolk St., San Mateo, CA, 94403
Price $11.75
Rating: rating_3
Website: http://menya.inshoujapanese.com/

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THE RAMEN SHOP: Green Garlic Shoyu Ramen

I’ve head about Ramen Shop in Oakland for years, it has a story and if you are a ramen fan in the Bay Area, you’ve heard the name before. The one surprising thing is that people love it or hate it but I haven’t heard of anyone who has loved every bowl they’ve eaten there. They do change their menu daily, so not everything is going to be a hit but with the calibre of talent in the kitchen there should be more wins than losses. Everything about Ramen Shop is great (the decor, the staff, the vibe, the open-concept kitchen, the bar, the cocktails, the menu & the appies) but it has three fatal flaws:

1) The wait. We got their at 5pm and had to wait 100 minutes… what? I could see this happening at 7:30pm but at 5pm? Ramen is supposed to be a quick meal not a lengthy affair and after reading the multitude of reviews here, this length of wait time seems common but to me? That’s unacceptable.

2)The Price. $17 for a bowl of ramen? $17? What is this Times Square New York? Do you get a certificate of pork authenticity with every bowl? In a city where ramen usually costs $9-12, this seems absurd! If you are going to charge $17 for a bowl of ramen, that better be the biggest, boldest, gold-dipped bowl of fireworks inducing Ramen ever served!!! It was not.

3) The Ramen. I ordered the Green Garlic Shoyu Ramen (which includes: a shoyu-marniated egg, black trumpet & hedgehog mushrooms, red spring onions and peppercress) and was greeted with something that looked good but tasted of disappointment. First off I should say that the Egg & Noodles were fantastic, top notch but you only get 1/2 the egg… boo. The pork Chashu was uber fatty thus chewy with little to no bold pork flavor. The various mushrooms and fresh peppercress were welcome flavors but the broth….

This was a Shoyu-based ramen which means Soy Sauce flavored and assari (light) as opposed to a rich, thick koterri-style broth. I love me a good Shoyu but this one was so overtly salty that it actually made me pause. There were hints of smoke and nori and subtle flavors but I tasted no “green garlic” and an always overpowering punch of salt. I know Soy Sauce is inherently salty but this was S-A-L-T-Y! This was the first bowl of ramen I didn’t completely finish, I ate all the noodles but left the broth and if you know me, that’s saying something.

I know Ramen Shop changes its menu almost daily and it has its fair share of fans but that wait, those prices and that disappointing first bowl of Green Garlic Shoyu Ramen means it will be a long time before I venture out to Ramen Shop again!

Green Garlic Shoyu Ramen

Dish: Green Garlic Shoyu Ramen
Location: Ramen Shop
Address: 5812 College Ave, Oakland (510.788.6370)
Price $17

Rating: rating_2

Website: http://www.ramenshop.com/