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Tabe: new SF ramen option

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david kaplan Jun 6, 2008 10:34 AM

Apparently, within Caffeine at Geary & Larkin, someone is serving ramen. The details are a little murky, but their Yelp page gives their hours as Fri-Sat, 6 pm - 1 am. Website is http://www.tabetrucks.com/ . I can't tell from the descriptions whether it's a counter, a storefront, or a mobile unit.

Anyone have more details about them or -- even better -- reports on how their ramen is? The Yelp reviews are glowing, for whatever that's worth.

835 Geary
SF

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    vliang RE: david kaplan Jun 9, 2008 12:05 PM

    So from I understand, they will be a mobile truck in the future as soon as they secure their truck. In the meantime, they are having the ramne available at the cafe listed at 835 Geary on Fri and Sat nights.
    The bowl I tasted on Sat night was pretty darn good. The noodles were fantastic - good bite, didn't get soggy, yellowish in colour, and quite wavy. The broth was shoyu with more chicken flavour. Rather light and different style compared to Santa and Himawari. Much more in the Tokyo vein. The toppings came with a nicely buttery pieces of chasu, nori, a sliced half of soy egg (delicious!), spinach, and bamboo shoots.
    I haven't tried katana-ya, but this bowl certainly ranked higher than Suzu, Oyagi, Tanpopo for me.
    They are still working on perfecting their broth as apparently this bowl I had was greatly improved over the last version my friends had the week before.

    4 Replies
    1. re: vliang
      wolfe RE: vliang Jun 9, 2008 12:49 PM

      Shades of Tampopo.

      1. re: wolfe
        Xiao Yang RE: wolfe Jun 9, 2008 12:58 PM

        The movie, not the restaurant, I assume you mean.

        1. re: Xiao Yang
          wolfe RE: Xiao Yang Jun 9, 2008 01:06 PM

          As usual, you are correct. Which came first? The movie was in 1985.

      2. re: vliang
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        drinkthewater RE: vliang Jun 13, 2008 02:18 PM

        FYI, Tabe Ramen is closed Friday, June 13th due to a private party at Caffeine.

        Open again on Saturday June 14th, and always looking for more places to serve...

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        david kaplan RE: david kaplan Jun 9, 2008 01:09 PM

        I went this weekend. I especially liked the chashu, rich and meaty; I also thought the noodles, though not that tasty, were good because they were somewhat thick, curly, and not too soft. I liked the broth though am used to the milkier tonkotsu style at Ramen Halu and at my favorite ramen-ya in Japan. Chashu was a bit too salty (too much soy in the marinade?) and broth was undersalted to my taste, yet still flavorful.

        In all, it was the best bowl of ramen I've had in SF proper. Ramen Halu in San Jose, with its thicker homemade noodles and fatty tonkotsu broth, remains my clear Bay Area favorite, but Tabe is my new favorite in town.

        They are set up as a counter in the front of Caffeine. You order at the counter (walk in and look left), sit down at one of the six-ish tables, and a few minutes later your bowl of ramen is brought up from downstairs.

        Many nice touches, such as the option of getting extra noodles, which are brought once you finish the regular portion of noodles so the extras don't go soft from sitting in the broth too long.

        Ramen bowl = $8. Comes with chashu, egg, bamboo, bean sprouts, scallion, and nori. Extra chashu and extra noodles each $2 more.

        4 Replies
        1. re: david kaplan
          wolfe RE: david kaplan Jun 9, 2008 01:13 PM

          Top on Melanie's List. Is there an update?
          http://www.chowhound.com/topics/312432

          1. re: david kaplan
            Xiao Yang RE: david kaplan Jun 9, 2008 01:18 PM

            "You order at the counter (walk in and look left), sit down at one of the six-ish tables, and a few minutes later your bowl of ramen is brought up from downstairs." -- D Kaplan

            "As you walk in the place move immediately to your right... you hold out your money, speak your soup in a loud,clear voice, step to the left and receive." -- J. Seinfeld

            1. re: Xiao Yang
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              david kaplan RE: Xiao Yang Jun 9, 2008 05:01 PM

              I may be as funny as Seinfeld, but the Tabe ramen folks are much nicer than the soup Nazi.

              1. re: david kaplan
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                wontonsoup RE: david kaplan Jun 9, 2008 09:41 PM

                ha ha ha haaaaa!! Can't wait to try this one. Thanks for the great review david.

          2. tvham RE: david kaplan Jun 9, 2008 11:21 PM

            I stopped in last weekend and was quite impressed by my bowl of ramen. The pork was fantastic - so good in fact that I'll opt for the extra portion next tiime. But what makes this ramen special is the soy egg - cooked through but with a slightly soft yolk - my words definitely can't live up to it's goodness! The guys running the operation couldn't be nicer (although the guy working at Caffeine couldn't seem to care less)

            1 Reply
            1. re: tvham
              Debbie M RE: tvham Jun 13, 2008 05:06 PM

              Hmm .. better than Halu's ni-tamago?

              This place sounds promising.

            2. BeanBoy RE: david kaplan Jun 18, 2008 08:11 PM

              AAAHHHHHHhhhhhaahahhhhhhhaaaaahhhhh!!!!!

              Tabe Ramen says they won't be making noodles for a little while. Me, being a little slow on the uptake with these things, didn't find out until this week.

              Lets hope they find a home soon.

              http://taberamen.blogspot.com/

              1. Melanie Wong RE: david kaplan Jul 28, 2010 01:03 PM

                http://www.chow.com/blog/2008/06/rame...

                No updates came out on a future truck or location from partners John Hayato Branderhorst and Matt Cohen, other than this rather discouraging word last fall, "I’m sorry for those who are hoping that we’ll start it up again but I’m 95% sure that Ramen making isn’t in our future."
                http://blog.johnhayato.com/2009/10/29...

                Sounds like you were happier with Tabe than your recent experience with Hapa Ramen,
                http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/719223

                I'm bumping this thread from 2008 to see who remembers Tabe Ramen. Matthew Cohen has gone on as the owner of San Francisco Cart Project, aiding mobile entrepreneurs. He also operates Off the Grid, the mobile food meet-up at Fort Mason and soon other locations in the City. Wouldn't it be great if he and John would have a reunion tour to reprise Tabe Ramen?

                2 Replies
                1. re: Melanie Wong
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                  sfbing RE: Melanie Wong Jul 30, 2010 02:47 PM

                  I remember Tabe Ramen: a classic bowl, at the right temperature and not too salty, good firm yellow noodles (lye?). The best part was the offer of xtra noodles when you were done with your first serving. If they reprise, I would go--especially if they make their stock a touch more porky.

                  1. re: sfbing
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                    david kaplan RE: sfbing Jul 30, 2010 04:07 PM

                    Ditto, fond memories. All the more so given the dearth of good San Francisco ramen. Rare to find such good chashu and such good noodles all in the same bowl. Though Hapa didn't do it for me, Tabe is a good reminder that pop-up ramen really can work.

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