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Genki Ramen - Thumbs Up!

shnigglebob Feb 2, 2007 08:05 PM

Went over to Genki last night and had a yummy meal for under $25 for two!

It was pretty empty by 12am, but there were two servers (both I recognized from Genki Crepes). They were both really nice and welcoming. The sat us promptly and we were given hot tea and ice water quickly. The decor is contemporary: dark wood tables and chairs with green cushions, flat screen tvs around the perimeter, and cool little cardboard chopstick presenters.

The menu ranges from gyoza, hiyayakko, edamame, housemade char siu and more appetizers. Okonomiyaki, yakisoba, tempura, ramen, and a page full of various robatayaki skewers. NO SUSHI or SASHIMI.

We tried:
- Gyoza - crunchy on the top and soft and delicate on the bottom. Pork filling with mild. Dipping sauce a bit sweeter than normal (i like it more vinegar-y)
- Housemade Char Siu - very VERY different, but yummy. Thin slices of tender and slightly fatty pork with a sweet and salty marinade.
- Wakame Salad - average but yummy. Not too much to say about this dish.
- Mabo Tofu Ramen - YUMMY!!! Lots of mabo tofu and lots of spice. The ramen noodles were al dente and one bowl was enough to share between the two of us. (They will give you small bowls for sharing)

I will definitely be back and I love how they are open late. I want to try some of their robata and their desserts look yummy too. I'm happy because now I don't have to trek all the way to downtown Katana-ya for good ramen.

  1. chaddict Feb 2, 2007 08:19 PM

    I loved the pork that came on my ramen-tender and fatty and full of porcine goodness. I just wish they were open for lunch Mon - Fri...

    1. ChowFun_derek Feb 3, 2007 06:54 AM

      In which town or city in the Bay Area is this place located???

      Thanks

      3 Replies
      1. re: ChowFun_derek
        w
        Wendy_san Feb 3, 2007 08:11 AM

        4th Avenue and Geary in San Francisco.

        1. re: Wendy_san
          ChowFun_derek Feb 3, 2007 10:35 AM

          Thank you Wendy san....inquiring Chowhound minds NEED to know!!!

        2. re: ChowFun_derek
          Atomica Feb 3, 2007 11:09 AM

          See recent thread:
          http://www.chowhound.com/topics/364338

        3. shnigglebob Feb 3, 2007 02:32 PM

          Ok, call us crazy, but we went back AGAIN last night! This time there were a few more tables filled around the restaurant. We tried items from the robatayaki... OH MY GOODNESS.. the lamb chop with the mint dipping sauce was cooked perfectly!! $3.25 for a single grilled lamb chop seemed reasonable. Especially for these delicious morsel! We also tried the shitake which was yummy too. They use fresh shitake so they are plump and soak up all of the flavor. The beef and onion was also very tasty. The sliced beef is wrapped around the green onion stalk and has lots of flavor. My least favorite was the salmon which was a good size filet (crispy skin on) which was cooked perfectly, but it still had bones in. We are definitely going to go back to try more of the robata items.

          1. Atomica Feb 4, 2007 05:49 AM

            We had a late lunch at Genki Ramen yesterday and liked it a lot. We had the Shrimp Tempura Ramen and the Char Siu Ramen (they spell it differently--I forgot to pick up a paper menu to confirm spellings). The pork in the Char Siu was abundant, sweet, salty, and tender. The shrimp tempura was pretty good, and there were several pieces of tempura yam as well. I would have gotten the Mapo Tofu Ramen, but I wanted to share something mild with my toddler. We had the chicken kara-age side for $2.50, which is a mini portion. I really didn't have room for it anyway.

            I loved the interior design. There was one woman in particular working there who is very warm and welcoming. She told us that perhaps in about 3 weeks, they will be opening for lunch during the week. It's very important to note that ONLY RAMEN and a handful of side dishes are available during lunch. The rest of the menu (okonomiyaki, robatayaki, etc.) is available at DINNER ONLY.

            Pics:

             
             
             
            1. augustiner Feb 4, 2007 06:34 AM

              i'm curious about mabo tofu ramen. i love mabo (or mapo) tofu, with the richness of the spicy ground pork or beef matched with soft cubes of tofu. (or at least my preference for tofu is soft. i don't understand "extra firm" tofu) but i'm wondering if the intensity of the dish stands up when paired with the ramen broth? in my mind, it would dilute into the soup without necessarily adding much flavor to it. i went past genki last night, but my friend wasn't interested, but i am and want to go try it out. i figure we're talking about a japanized version of mapo tofu, so probably less assertively spiced? basically i'm just wondering if the mabo tofu loses something when distributed through the soup, or if it adds an extra dimension to the dish. thanks.

              1 Reply
              1. re: augustiner
                Atomica Feb 4, 2007 06:45 AM

                Did you see the photo of the mabo tofu ramen? It looks like there isn't a copious amount of broth, and the tofu is basically sitting on the noodles above the broth. The broth I had was quite assertive in itself as well, so I imagine no flavor would really be diluted. All conjecture, though, since I didn't order it.

              2. l
                Lynda Vuong Feb 4, 2007 11:14 PM

                I love the people at Genki and the food is not so bad - but

                the karage. something is wrong about this. overly too big pieces.
                chicken tendons - I think that's what they called it here. I maybe a bit bias because im used to eating this only in hong kong. but the pieces were just too big. like the karage. no real flavour. I also wasn't so pleased with the pork neck robatayaki. I wouldn't recommended getting the creme brulee either, although it wasn't bad, but it really should be called pudding instead!

                1. a
                  alpinelight Feb 6, 2007 09:12 AM

                  Went last night, and thought it was pretty good. Couldn't round up any friends at the last minute, so only got to try the Chashu Ramen.

                  Pickled vegetable nibbles at the outset were a bit too sweet for my taste.

                  The broth was a very flavorful miso, and particularly rich/fatty. This is great for the first half of the bowl, and really not so great after that. Personally prefer a cleaner, shoyu-type broth.

                  Green onion was nice and sharp, with stronger flavor than one usually gets. Good match for the strong broth.

                  Came with half an egg, looking like perhaps it had been cooked in a soy broth or something. Yolk was still tender, not over-done.

                  Nothing special about the marinated bamboo shoots. The usual quality - did not eat all of them. Noodles were good, did not have any particular opinion one way or the other on them. Were properly cooked and separated easily in the bowl.

                  Highlight was the pork itself. Each slice seemed to have been grilled or fried before putting in the soup, so just a bit of color and crispyness to the outside. And lots of tender fat! The first couple slices were fantabulous. But just like with the broth, it got to be just a little too rich by the time I was finishing the bowl.

                  A cold Asahi did wonders to cut through the heaviness - so overall came out in that happy state when the afterglow of a good meal mixes with the cool SF air on Geary, walking along, humming happily to myself...

                  Is a worthy place. I'll go back again, but the chashu ramen would probably not be my choice. (Keep in mind, this is from a guy who has been partial to Iroha for countless years, which is usually met with clucks of Chowhound disapproval...)

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: alpinelight
                    chaddict Feb 6, 2007 09:23 AM

                    I have to say your assessment of the broth was spot on. It really was sort of too much towards the end. Yolk was exactly as you described. However, I was definitely not tired of the pork.

                    I'm going back again tonight to try some of the other dishes but I have to say I have been craving that pork...

                    1. re: chaddict
                      boomer13 Apr 15, 2007 09:26 AM

                      I just ate at Genki yesterday. Ditto for the soup, I would have prefered a Shoyu soup.
                      I also a bit disappointed with the lack of variety on tempura in the Shrimp Tempura Ramen.Mine had two shrimp and about 4-5 slices of tempura pumpkin.

                      I did enjoy the $1 suppliment idea for a side ... the pork (charsu) fried rice was the best of the choices, but the fried chicken and gyoza was fine as well.

                      I wonder if they would do a shoyu soup? I know at other places I've been to they give you a choice. Hmmm?

                      1. re: boomer13
                        chaddict Apr 15, 2007 09:58 AM

                        It seems the only other choice is miso but maybe things have changed since last I was there.

                  2. nianfong Feb 6, 2007 12:46 PM

                    One question: Tonkotsu?

                    11 Replies
                    1. re: nianfong
                      chaddict Feb 6, 2007 01:48 PM

                      If you mean do they have it, then yes...

                      1. re: chaddict
                        Atomica Feb 6, 2007 03:01 PM

                        But only at night, for dinner. :)

                        1. re: Atomica
                          chaddict Feb 6, 2007 03:11 PM

                          Those bums seem to only be serving lunch Sat. and Sun (from the last time I was there. Have they expanded their hours yet?

                          1. re: chaddict
                            Atomica Feb 6, 2007 04:22 PM

                            See my post above. Maybe in about 3 weeks they hope to be open for lunch during the week. That will be nice!

                      2. re: nianfong
                        Melanie Wong Feb 6, 2007 03:24 PM

                        Clarification for those replying to this question, tonkOtsu is a rich, pork bone-based ramen stock, and what I believe nianfong is asking about. Many often get it confused with the fried pork cutlet, tonkAtsu.

                        http://www.chowhound.com/topics/102968

                        1. re: Melanie Wong
                          chaddict Feb 6, 2007 04:27 PM

                          Well, they have a tonka/otsu curry ramen dish but I don't know the spelling. Will swing by tonight and see.

                          1. re: chaddict
                            chaddict Feb 6, 2007 08:35 PM

                            Okey dokey...they have tonkAtsu curry ramen. (Thanks, Melanie! I love how much I learn from this site.) I tried, I really did, to get an answer on the broth. I tried 3 different staff members who all scurried away to get the answer. I even asked specifically if the broth is tonkotsu. The best I could get was that it was their own house style, made with PORK BONES. So it just might be...I know crappola about ramen broth. They also said that, if I really must, they could make the ramen with miso.

                            Tonight I had the Chashu Yakisoba (8.75) and gyoza (4.75). Loved the gyoza (shape was a little different then I am used to) and thought the yakisoba was ok. The pork was cut into miniscule pieces. But I will say the portions are big so I have more than enough for lunch.

                            1. re: chaddict
                              nianfong Feb 7, 2007 11:55 AM

                              Thanks Melanie! Yes, tonkOtsu. It's a very thick, opaque/translucent broth (NOT clear at all), usually made from stewing pork belly I believe, which is where all the creamy fat comes from.
                              It's not a miso broth.

                              1. re: nianfong
                                uchinanchu Apr 22, 2007 06:55 AM

                                tonkotsu is supposed to be made from pork bones.

                                i.e. ton = pork, kotsu = bone.

                                a good way to remember the difference between tonkotsu and tonkatsu is to remember that "katsu" is short for "katsuretsu" which is a japanization of the english word "cutlet".

                              2. re: chaddict
                                k
                                katg Apr 18, 2007 04:24 PM

                                i drive by this place all the time and the BF and i have always wondered how it is. glad to see good reports all around!

                          2. re: nianfong
                            a
                            alpinelight Feb 6, 2007 03:38 PM

                            Sounds plausible. Did seem bizarrely creamy for a miso broth, so maybe it's not.

                            Will ask next time I'm there, if nobody else gets it answered first.

                          3. n
                            nsheth Feb 7, 2007 03:08 PM

                            Had dinner here last night. Tried the Tonkatsu Curry Ramen ($8.25, I think) and one lamb chop ($3.50, I think). The lamb chop was solid, and really came alive with the mint sauce they give on the side. The ramen started off pretty good, but initially I thought the broth felt a little "thin" . . . by the end of the bowl, with the pieces of tonkatsu in it, things just felt a tad too fatty/rich. Haha, I'm sure it was "just right" somewhere in between.

                            Overall, got a good feeling from this place, interesting menu (pictures of every item), people were real friendly. At the end of the meal, they gave these little Japanese marshmallow candies, which inspired me to go to their store on Clement and buy a few. All in all, especially considering how close it is to me, I'll be returning!

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: nsheth
                              chaddict Feb 7, 2007 03:50 PM

                              Those candies were great! Thanks for letting me know where to buy them.

                            2. Dave MP Feb 11, 2007 05:12 PM

                              I had dinner there last night (Saturday). Nice place, and no wait on Saturday at 7:45! Awesome. I fear this will soon not be the case.

                              DC and I shared:

                              Fried tofu appetizer: Four pieces of nicely fried soft tofu, served in a very shallow bowl of soy dipping sauce w/ scallion. The batter on the outside of the tofu was delicate but flavorless. Still, nicely prepared.

                              Scallop - from Robatayaki - 4 pieces of scallop, perfectly cooked and topped w/ mayo and fish roe. Delicious, but maybe a bit pricy for what I recall to be $4.50ish.

                              Tomato and Pumpkin from Robatayaki - Nicely grilled and seasoned with special soy sauce, but order enough from this section of the menu and the price can go up quick. This was two bite size pieces of pumpkin and two cherry tomatoes. It was somewhere around 3 dollars, perhaps 2.50. Does anyone have the menu to confirm?

                              Ramen - We ordered the vegetarian ramen (I forget the name) which had a very nice mushroom/miso broth. The ramen bowls are quite a good deal for the money I think, both DC and I had generous servings from the $8.95 bowl. The noodles were a perfect texture, lots of nice vegetables (only complaint was some slightly undercooked eggplant which I thought was an odd addition in the first place).

                              Service was very nice, the restaurant is very nice looking, and the drinks on the menu looked great. In fact, the entire menu looks very nice with all the pictures. The TVs (w/ no volume) were showing a Japanese cooking/game show which was sometimes a bit distracting.

                              Overall though, a great new place, I look forward to returning. I'm glad I got to go before this place gets too popular, which I think it might.

                              Dave MP

                              1. Cynsa Feb 14, 2007 07:37 AM

                                Love at first bite! The shisamo ($1.50 each) pumps my heart..what's not to love? ...smelt belly filled with roe - grilled on a stick. Juicy, rare lamb riblet $3.50. Tasty Clam Broth with four clams, $4.50. Fun menu.
                                DH was very satisfied with the generous portion of seafood yakisoba. Service was attentive and friendly...my tea cup was never empty!
                                and, pretty fixtures in the bathrooms...glass bowl sinks.
                                I'll return for the okonomiyaki, the ramen, the croquettes, the yam and pumpkin tempura...and, probably more.

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: Cynsa
                                  Dave MP Feb 14, 2007 11:02 AM

                                  I also liked the bathrooms :)

                                  I saw a neighboring table w/ tempura ramen that looked great. I will try this next time.

                                  Also agree about the tea, my cup was always full as well.

                                  Dave MP

                                  1. re: Dave MP
                                    Atomica Feb 14, 2007 11:04 AM

                                    I had the tempura ramen, and I would caution that much of the fried coating gets mushy sitting in the ramen broth. That's not a real pleasant addition. Next time, I will ask for the tempura to be set on the side.

                                2. singleguychef Feb 16, 2007 09:08 AM

                                  With everyone buzzing about Genki, I gave it a tried last night after a doctor's appointment in the area. I have to agree that it looks like a fun place to get a good bowl of ramen, but I have a warning about the deep-fried stuff. I ordered the deep-fried unagi because I've never had that before and love unagi sushi. The batter was thick and didn't stick to the unagi, so it was a squirming mess to eat. The unagi tasted plump, but it didn't seem accentuated by the batter that wouldn't stay together with it.

                                  And also because I love crab, I was enamored by the photo of the Crab Legs Ramen that I saw in the window display. I asked about it and they said the shell was still on but half of it was cut away so you'd have access to the meat. I thought, OK, sounds easy enough to eat. I was wrong. In the picture it didn't clearly show that the crab legs are also deep-fried in tempura. So it's like tempura ramen. The difference is that tempura with shrimp doesn't contain shrimp shells. The crab legs did. Also, the photo was a very light batter that almost was non-existent, which is why I didn't realize it was deep-fried. You could see the redness of the crab legs. But what actually came out were these almost like fingerling tempura things. There was such a thick tempura batter around the crab legs it was almost like removing a blanket in order to get into the crab. And the thing is, you have to remove the batter because the shell can't be eaten like soft shell crab. I kept thinking to myself, what's up with that? Why put batter around a shell that you're going to have to extricate. Luckily, they do supply I nice scissors that cuts into shell easily. After removing the batter, and splitting the shell, I got the crab meat and tossed the meat onto my ramen. It was a lot of work and I burned myself because the crab legs were still hot from the deep fry. So I would not recommend this dish. However, I do love the texture of the ramen and the broth is very tasty. So just as a ramen place, Genki is pretty good. I would go back and order just the regular ramen like the cha shu or anything that doesn't have deep fried batter.

                                  1. tatertot Mar 29, 2007 05:37 PM

                                    I've been to Genki Ramen twice in the past month and am a big fan! I taught English in Japan for about a year and have been craving certain foods like okonomiyaki and yakisoba. It definitely hits the spot. I also liked the potato croquettes. The grilled onigiri was so-so. BF ordered a couple robatayaki and loved the asparagus wrapped in bacon. The robatayaki are pretty small though. Looking forward to trying the ramen. I liked the restaurant but the multiple plasma screens features teen pop videos gets distracting after awhile.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: tatertot
                                      c
                                      colormonger Jun 28, 2007 04:39 PM

                                      Planning on going to Genki Ramen tonight. What are some people's favorite robatayaki? The scallops sound great. How many orders of robatayaki would be enough for 2 people?

                                    2. s
                                      sylphi Feb 5, 2008 03:14 PM

                                      Just wanted to see if anyone knows what happened to this place. I went about a month ago and I was really disappointed in the food. The broth looked the same but it didn't taste the same - it was REALLY watered down and I think they changed the noodles. It was limp and soggy.

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