Ramen Rama in Cupertino
- Cary May 29, 2005 11:54 PM
There is another new ramen place opening in the Silicon Valley.
Ramen Rama is next to the Elephant Bar on Stevens Creek Blvd: 19774 Stevens Creek Blvd.
The interior is nice. There is a bar for single diners or small parties that runs along the long side of the restaurant behind which is the POS, prep area, and then behind that partially hidden by the curtain is the kitchen.
Dark tables and decor, with walls lined with completed Japanese artist jigsaw puzzles hanging on the wall. At 7:30 there was only one other party, but as we ate, more people came in. I don't know how long this place has been open, but it's pretty new.
"original soup" which is really the tonkatsu broth.
12. Char grilled chicken
14. grilled chicken
15. ma bo tofu
Shoyu based or Hot spicy soup (19, 20, 21)
17. char grilled chicken
18. grilled seafood
#22. Vegetable ramen (!!!)
duck gyoza (interesting...)
pork, ebi, yasai gyozas.
Whole grilled squid
"Cupertino": Tonkatsu charsiu ramen, w/ three pork gyozas and fried rice.
"Palo alto" Shoyu chicken ramen, 3 pork gyoza, and salad
"San Francisco": VEgetagarian ramen, three yasai gyoza, and salads.
All the ramens except for the grilled seafood were 6.99, the grilled seafood ramen was 8.99. The Combos were all 8.99 which is a bargain considering a full order of five gyoza is 3.50. You can add extras to your ramen: extra charsiu, menma, corn, whole egg, or rice for $1.
I ordered the charsiu tonkatsu ramen and an order of the grilled squid (an izakaya and a japanese/chinese favorite). My dining companion is a vegetarian so she went with the "San francisco" combo. She was excited that there was a ramenya who offered true vegetarian ramen (vegetarian broth).
The waitress seemed new and could use some pointers on friendliness but it's not unexpected at Asian restaurants newly opened.
She brought over some complimentary appetizers, for us, a chicken yakitori skewer each. My companion of course couldn't eat hers, so I had both. They were done very well. Tender, juicy, and sauced lightly which is my preference. I saw other tables getting a piece of gyoza each, instead of yakitori.
My charsiu tonktatsu ramen came out first and I started so I could gauge the chewiness of noodles right away. The broth was milky, sweet'sh, good body (aka salt), pork flavor well balanced. I slightly prefer the Santa style which has more gelatin in the broth. The broth at RamenRama is less fatty which is a plus. The tonktatsu broth at Oyagisan Ramen is not as good. Oyagi is more watery, and less body. Toppings on mine were charsiu, seaweed, blackfungus, green onion, half a boiled egg (which was cooked so the yolk was solid, but not overcooked so the sulfurus green coating on the yolk didn't form)
The ramen noodles are very similar to the ramen used at Halu. They cook it just right (for me) which is very "chewy" or "tense" or "tsoey" in Cantonese. Excellent noodles which retained most of its qualities until the end.
My companions vegetable ramen broth was very intense and flavorful, but I can't really identify what they used in it. She commented that the broth was too salty for her tastes, but she usually doesn't use a lot of salt in her food. Her toppings included seaweed, black fungus, enoki mushrooms, sprouts, green onions, bamboo shoot, corn, and lotus root. She also agreed that the noodles were done very well.
Her yasai (veggie) gyozas, were okay. She commented that it seemed under cooked b/c the strength onions in it were very strong and "raw".
My squid was also excellent. It was $7.50 and was about 10" long including the tentacles. Santa has the same dish, but they don't include the tentacles, which is a shame because the texture is different and very tasty.
They offer beers, sake, sodas and teas for average prices.
Our meal after tax and 20% tip was $30.
I would rate this place in the lower upper tier or upper second tier. Below Ramen Halu, Santa. Above Ramen Club, Hotei (ugh), and Oyagi san ramen. Probably a bit above Do Henkotsu. Par with Himawari or Gen.
Hey Cary, thanks for being the man on the spot. When I last spoke with my aunt (who lives nearby) about the opening date, she said that it would open last week after getting the liquor license. So, I think you were there in the first few days. She told me that the owner is Chinese but he has hired Japanese cooks. The two restaurants, Red Miso and Ramen Rama, would share a common kitchen but have different menus. Has the other side opened too?
It sounds better than I'd expected. I'll try to get there soon so we can compare notes.