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May 17, 2010 02:19 AM

Spicy Noodles (Ramen) @ Muracci’s in Los Altos

Last weekend I braved a return to Muracci’s to try the ramen. This time we had a reservation and didn’t have to wait or getting pushed out of line for a table. Luckily, the place seems to have settled into an acceptable groove. I’m happy to say that the service was smoother with a slightly smaller crowd and an additional staffer working the front of the house.

We started with an order of Agedashi tofu. The firm bean curd was cut into big cubes and fried lightly. The impeccably balanced dashi was subtle, yet highly nuanced, and so delicious that I drank the last of it from the bowl.

William had already tried the beef and vegetable curry ramen soup before. He liked it but noted that the cubes of beef were too tough. This time he went with the tofu and vegetable version. Ordered “medium” spicy, the chili barely registered as warm. The curry sauce was lighter in color with less depth of flavor than the beef one. While called "soup" on the menu, the liquid's a slightly thinner version of the curry sauce and much thicker than other curry ramen stocks. The fried onions on top were a nice touch except that they were tough rather than crisp. The fried blocks of tofu did not soak up much of the flavor and I found the stiff skin of the tofu abrasive and unpleasant.

I ordered the special of the week, Spicy Noodles, specifying ramen as my noodle choice. This turned out to be ground beef, onions, scallions, and chili paste blended with curry sauce ladled over dry ramen noodles. Dandan mian meets Japanese curry might be the best description with a touch of Bolognese sauce thrown in for good measure. I had ordered this “mild” but the spice level turned out to be hotter than the other bowl’s “medium”. This could have been an error on the servers part as we’d had an involved discussion about heat levels (e.g., “hot” equals three spoonfuls of chili paste) and she might have written my order down wrong. Yet, the meaty depth of the saucing stood up to the extra heat and I enjoyed the blast of flavors for as long as I could stand it. After a while the heat started to build up and I had to call it quits. The crinkly noodles were chewy and bouncy in the mouth, really great job on texture.

Based on the Spicy Noodles, Muracci’s earns #21 on the personal ramen ranking.

1. Ramen Halu, 375 Saratoga Ave Ste M, San Jose
2. Santouka @ Mitsuwa Hokkaido Festival, 675 Saratoga Ave, San Jose
3. Himawari, 202 2nd Ave, San Mateo
4. Orenchi Ramen, 3540 Homestead Rd, Santa Clara
5. Maru Ichi, 368 Castro St, Mountain View
6. Izakaya Mai, 212 2nd Avenue, San Mateo
7. Ajisen Noodle, 47890 Warm Springs Blvd, Fremont
8. Ramen Dojo, 805 South B St, San Mateo
9. Ryowa, 859 Villa St, Mountain View
10. Tanto, 1063 E El Camino Real, Sunnyvale
11. Santa, 1944 South El Camino Real, San Mateo (post-move)
12. Do-Henkotsu House of Tokushima Ramen, 4330 Moorpark Ave, San Jose (closed)
13. Sumiya, 2634 Homestead Rd, Santa Clara
14.Gen Ramen, 47890 Warm Springs Blvd, Fremont (closed)
15.Hana Japanese Restaurant, 101 Golf Course Dr, Rohnert Park
16.Izakaya Restaurant, 1335 N 1st St, San Jose
17.BY Grill, 3226 Geary Blvd, San Francisco (closed)
18.Norikonoko, 2556 Telegraph Ave, Berkeley
19.Hana, 4320 Moorpark, San Jose
20.Ozumo, 2251 Broadway, Oakland
21.Muracci’s, 244 State St, Los Altos
22.Dohatsuten, 799 San Antonio Rd, Palo Alto
23.Katanaya, 430 Geary Blvd., San Francisco
24.Masa's Sushi, 400 San Antonio Road, Mountain View
25.Nombe, 2491 Mission St, San Francisco
26.Gochi, 19980 Homestead Rd, Cupertino
27.Oyaji, 3123 Clement St, San Francisco
28.Halu Restaurant, 312 8th Ave, San Francisco
29.Sanmi, 3226 Geary Blvd, San Francisco
30.Maru Ichi, 530 Barber Lane, Milpitas
31.Hatcho, 1271 Franklin Mall, Santa Clara
32.Kahoo, 4330 Moorpark Ave, San Jose
33.Tomoe, 810 3rd St, San Rafael (closed)
34.Ringer Hut, 1072 Saratoga Ave, San Jose
35.Noodle Theory, 3242 Scott St, San Francisco
36.Watami Shabu Shabu and Ramen, 5344 Geary Blvd, San Francisco (closed)
37.Where’s Buta by Elgin Espiritu and June Lee, Eat Real Festival, Oakland
38.Kumako, 211 E. Jackson Street, San Jose
39.Japanese Restaurant Hoshi, 246 Saratoga Avenue, Santa Clara
40.Ramen Club, 723 California Dr, Burlingame
41.Ryowa, 2068 University Ave, Berkeley (after ownership change)
42.King Won Ton, 1936 Irving St, San Francisco
43.Tazaki Sushi, 3420 Judah St, San Francisco
44.Ramen Rama, 19774 Stevens Creek Blvd, Cupertino (closed)
45.Ogi-San Ramen, 10789 Blaney Ave, Cupertino (closed)
46.Kaimuki Grill, 104 S El Camino Real, San Mateo (closed)
47.Tanto, 1306 Saratoga Ave, San Jose
48.Okazu Ya SF (Noriega), 2445 Noriega St, San Francisco
49.King's Garden Ramen, 39055 Cedar Blvd, Newark (closed)
50.Sushi Bistro, 445 Balboa St, San Francisco
51.Genki Ramen, 3944 Geary Blvd, San Francisco
52.Mitsuwa Hokkaido festival booth, 675 Saratoga Ave, San Jose
53.Lakuni, 325 E 4th Ave, San Mateo
54.100% Healthy Desserts, 1155 Taraval St., San Francisco
55.Mifune, 1737 Post St, San Francisco
56.H2A Noodle, 42318 Fremont Blvd., Fremont (closed)
57.Iroha, 1728 Buchanan St, San Francisco
58.Miraku Noodles, 2131 N Broadway, Walnut Creek
59.Manpuku, 2977 College Ave, Berkeley
60.Tanpopo, 1740 Buchanan Street, San Francisco
61.Sushi Yoshi, 39261 Cedar Blvd, Newark
62.La Shang Niang Ramen (OEC), 42 Dixon Rd, Milpitas
63.Oidon, 71 E. 4th Avenue, San Mateo
64.Taraval Okazu Ya, 1735 Taraval St., San Francisco
65.Suzu Noodle House, 1581 Webster Street, San Francisco
66.Bushido Izakaya, 156 Castro St, Mountain View
67.Fresh Taste, 2107 El Camino Real, Palo Alto
68.Asuka Ramen, 883 Bush St, San Francisco
69.Sapporo-ya, 1581 Webster St, San Francisco
70.Tokyo Ramen, 678 Barber Lane, Milpitas (closed)
71.Kamakura, 2549 Santa Clara Ave, Alameda
72.Mama-san!, 312 8th Ave, San Francisco (closed)
73.Katana-ya Ramen, 10546 San Pablo Ave, El Cerrito
74.Hotei, 1290 9th Ave, San Francisco
75.Bear's Ramen House, 2521 Durant, Berkeley

Muracci's 2
244 State St, Los Altos, CA 94022

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  1. Once Hapa Ramen gets their s--t together and starts selling at the Ferry building, I'll be curious to know where you place them. I was lucky enough to try it before they started having quality problems and was very impressed; although I'm not a ramen connoisseur by any standards

    1. I had the Muracci's spicy noodles a the FiDi location and ordered it "hot" and it was definitely super spicy. Then I saw this post on their blog:

      It states that even the mild is fairly spicy, so it may be that your order was not an errror, but a result of how they make it. Regardless, I was thrilled to find a place in SF downtown that fulfilled the promise of spice.

      3 Replies
      1. re: Pandora

        I don't see spicy noodles (aside from the curry noodle soup bowls) on Muracci's regular menu online, and the "weekly special" online is beef donburi. Is the spicy noodles always available, or was it a temporary special when you had it? I'm interested in the SF FiDi location. Thanks.

        1. re: david kaplan

          It was listed as a special on the website for a two-week period.

          1. re: david kaplan

            Yes, it was temporary special when I had it last at the FiDi location. The special changes periodically, but I'm not sure how often. I think they do update the website with the current special though, so you can just keep an eye out.