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Shio and Hiyashi Chuka Ramen @ Fresh Taste Ramen House, Palo Alto

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My brother and I were cruising ECR trying to decide which place might have the best air-con on a sultry evening in June for a comfortable and quick dine-in meal. We noticed the signs promoting “Ramen” on the storefront next to Fresh Taste, a Chinese restaurant, and pulled over. Inside we found a newly decorated Japanese noodle house connected to the existing Chinese place, open for less than a month. We were greeted by the owner and asked if we wanted Chinese or Japanese, and pointed to a table on the ramen side.

A small plate of complimentary edamame came out quickly while we looked at the menus. William ordered the hiyashi chuka (cold ramen salad) and I went with the butter corn shio ramen, asking for the noodles cooked “hard”.

Hiyashi Chuka
http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3090/2...

The hiyashi chuka’s noodles were firmish. The veggies were cut carefully but arranged rather haphazardly. The dressing offered on the side was fairly insipid, not giving this enough flavor impact or unifying character to be worth ordering again.

Butter Corn Shio Ramen
http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3282/2...

The noodles in my ramen bowl were far from hard, starting off on the soft side and getting mushier in the hot stock. Topped with a couple thin slices of dryish cha shu, tough and fibrous marinated bamboo shoots, freshly chopped scallions, half a hard-cooked egg (with an unappetizing gray circle around the yolk), canned corn niblets, raw bean sprouts, and a pat of butter. The watery stock was quite light in flavor and color . . . bland, bland, bland.

This was early on in this new spot’s life and maybe the ramen has improved since that time. Based on this performance, Fresh Taste joins the ramen ranking at #50.

PERSONAL RAMEN RANKING
1. Ramen Halu, 375 Saratoga Ave Ste M, San Jose
2. Santa, 805 S B St, San Mateo (pre-move)
3. Himawari, 202 2nd Ave, San Mateo
4. Maru Ichi, 368 Castro St, Mountain View
5. Ryowa, 859 Villa St, Mountain View
6. Tanto, 1063 E El Camino Real, Sunnyvale
7. Do-Henkotsu House of Tokushima Ramen, 4330 Moorpark Ave, San Jose (closed)
8. Gen Ramen, 47890 Warm Springs Blvd, Fremont (closed)
9.BY Grill, 3226 Geary Blvd, San Francisco (closed)
10.Norikonoko, 2556 Telegraph Ave, Berkeley
11.Hana, 4320 Moorpark, San Jose
12.Katanaya, 430 Geary Blvd., San Francisco
13.Masa's Sushi, 400 San Antonio Road, Mountain View
14.Gochi, 19980 Homestead Rd, Cupertino
15.Oyaji, 3123 Clement St, San Francisco
16.Sanmi, 3226 Geary Blvd, San Francisco
17.Maru Ichi, 530 Barber Lane, Milpitas
18.Hatcho, 1271 Franklin Mall, Santa Clara
19.Kahoo, 4330 Moorpark Ave, San Jose
20.Tomoe, 810 3rd St, San Rafael (closed)
21.Ringer Hut, 1072 Saratoga Ave, San Jose
22.Kumako, 211 E. Jackson Street, San Jose
23.Izakaya Mai, 212 2nd Avenue, San Mateo
24.Japanese Restaurant Hoshi, 246 Saratoga Avenue, Santa Clara
25.Ramen Club, 723 California Dr, Burlingame
26.Ryowa, 2068 University Ave, Berkeley (after ownership change)
27.Tazaki Sushi, 3420 Judah St, San Francisco
28.Ramen Rama, 19774 Stevens Creek Blvd, Cupertino (closed)
29.Ogi-San Ramen, 10789 Blaney Ave, Cupertino (closed)
30.Kaimuki Grill, 104 S El Camino Real, San Mateo
31.Tanto, 1306 Saratoga Ave, San Jose
32.Okazu Ya SF (Noriega), 2445 Noriega St, San Francisco
33.King's Garden Ramen, 39055 Cedar Blvd, Newark (closed)
34.Sushi Bistro, 445 Balboa St, San Francisco
35.Genki Ramen, 3944 Geary Blvd, San Francisco
36.Mitsuwa Hokkaido festival booth, 675 Saratoga Ave, San Jose
37.Lakuni, 325 E 4th Ave, San Mateo
38.100% Healthy Desserts, 1155 Taraval St., San Francisco
39.Mifune, 1737 Post St, San Francisco
40.H2A Noodle, 42318 Fremont Blvd., Fremont
41.Iroha, 1728 Buchanan St, San Francisco
42.Miraku Noodles, 2131 N Broadway, Walnut Creek
43.Manpuku, 2977 College Ave, Berkeley
44.Tanpopo, 1740 Buchanan Street, San Francisco
45.Sushi Yoshi, 39261 Cedar Blvd, Newark
46.La Shang Niang Ramen (OEC), 42 Dixon Rd, Milpitas
47.Oidon, 71 E. 4th Avenue, San Mateo
48.Taraval Okazu Ya, 1735 Taraval St., San Francisco
49.Suzu Noodle House, 1581 Webster Street, San Francisco
50.Fresh Taste, 2107 El Camino Real, Palo Alto
51.Sapporo-ya, 1581 Webster St, San Francisco
52.Tokyo Ramen, 678 Barber Lane, Milpitas (closed)
53.Kamakura, 2549 Santa Clara Ave, Alameda
54.Mama-san!, 312 8th Ave, San Francisco (closed)
55.Katana-ya Ramen, 10546 San Pablo Ave, El Cerrito
56.Hotei, 1290 9th Ave, San Francisco
57.Bear's Ramen House, 2521 Durant, Berkeley

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  1. Thanks for the report Melanie, I've been wondering about that place when driving by on El Camino. I think I'll stick with Maru Ichi for the time being.

    1 Reply
    1. re: YSZ

      The sign looked even bigger the last time I was on that stretch of El Camino.

      It's been a while, but I loved the hiyashi chuka at MV's Maru Ichi. You might still be able to order it before the weather cools down.

      -----
      Fresh Taste Chinese
      2107 El Camino Real, Palo Alto, CA 94306

      Maru Ichi Restaurant
      368 Castro St, Mountain View, CA 94041