Santa Ramen still rockin'
Seems to me there's been some general buzz that this place has declined, but in my most recent visit I would have to say otherwise. Crowds seemed down a bit - I arrived at 6 and sat without a wait - but the ramen was exactly as I remembered. I ordered my standard - tonkatsu with stewed pork and extra noodles. It's fitting for the nation that gave us "umami" to create a dish that exemplifies it so perfectly. That pork broth is just so decadent, and the stewed pork (the sold-out sign went up about 6:20) remains as good as any I've ever tried. If they're slipping, it wasn't apparent Thursday.
Wow, no wait at Santa...that has never happened for us. In any case, they've been trying to speed their operation up by taking preorders from the first 10 or so people in line so that their food is on the table right after they sit down. In the bay area, there is NO equal to Santa's tonkatsu broth!!
I pass by Santa a few times a week and I see their popularity is still high. 8:30pm this past Fri had 5 people waiting outside. 11:20am Sat (10 min before opening) had at least 20 people lined up. (I've seen people line up at 30min before opening on weekends). 11:35am Sun had no one outside which was unusual. Maybe an occupant of the new condos across the street can point a web cam to gauge the Santa wait time.