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Any of the good Ramen places open mid to late afternoon?

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Have to be in the South bay tomorrow (I rarely go down there from Oakland) and thought it would be an opportunity to try ramen at one of the "good" places down there, having just been back from Tokyo. Catch is it would have to be between 3ish to 5ish at the latest. Would this work at any of the best places?

Thanks.

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  1. Santouka (in the grocery store) is open continuously through the afternoon. If you go there, be aware that there are two separate food stalls almost side by side.

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    Santouka
    675 Saratoga Ave, San Jose, CA 95129

    7 Replies
    1. re: jman1

      Thanks. The other food stall is Miyabi-tei. Santouka has no obvious English signage although you can see it in one or two places if you look closely.

      Broth was good, though I wasn't wild about the noodles. Although Tokyo has a reputation for high prices, I had a killer miso tonkotsu ramen in Asakusa for about $9 that had way more, better noodles, chashu, and broth. Mind blowing. I also had for $7 a tonkotsu ramen at some kind of cheap chain restaurant that was also better. I know it was a chain cause I kept seeing the same posters in different places in the city.

      Just to be clear, it suffers mainly in comparison to the above mentioned restaurants. It was good. A little stingy with the pork.

      Some relevant threads:

      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/798211

      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/766937

      Ramen in the east bay:

      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/792443

      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/769924

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      Santouka
      675 Saratoga Ave, San Jose, CA 95129

      1. re: twocents

        Glad that you found it acceptable. My experience is that many times overseas versions of inexpensive foods are more expensive, so I'm not surprised.

        Santouka is a chain as well:
        http://www.santouka.co.jp/en/shoplist...

        Even in Japan, I understand that Ramen is something that many people like to debate over which is best (and there are fans of different styles). I saw a news story about a man who runs a ramen magazine over there. The NY Times also ran a story about a year ago; they included the tale of NYer who moved there and now owns a couple of ramen shops (Ivan Ramen).

        By my novice taste, I enjoyed every bowl there.

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        Santouka
        675 Saratoga Ave, San Jose, CA 95129

        1. re: twocents

          if you go again, i'd suggest the "special pork" aka Toroniku. it's significantly better than their standard chashu. their noodles can be inconsistently cooked; better when i've requested them cooked "firm"

          1. re: drewskiSF

            Sounds interesting. Is that pig jowl? Found a photo here:

            http://www.flickr.com/photos/hermanau...

            Saw an NHK produced show about a guy who runs a ramen magazine in Japan (he claims to eat something like 1000 bowls of ramen a year).

            The show implied that most Japanese customers specified the degree of noodle firmness as well as other customizations. Does that seem accurate?

            1. re: jman1

              They say it's cheek meat which is the same as jowl?

              Customizations can vary by restaurant. There's usually topping extras you can add. Every place you can ask for noodle doneness, but Ramen Halu by Santouka seems to have the most soup customizations where you can specify how much fat or salt you want in the broth as well as regular or whole wheat noodles.

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              Ramen Halu
              375 Saratoga Ave, San Jose, CA 95129

              1. re: drewskiSF

                Toro, in the Japanese language refers to fatty, rich, well marbled, or belly cuts of meat/fish. Most likely cheek, but not jowl, Jowl is the jaw, whereas cheek muscles in meats are distinguished for their tender succulent characteristics. problem is due to the muscle being mostly unused or strained, it results in a very small cut in comparison to the rest of the animal...

          2. re: twocents

            agree that the noodles at santouka are surprisingly mediocre, but the broth is the best i've had yet, and the toppings are great.