HOME > Chowhound > San Francisco Bay Area >

Discussion

Ramen Shop? (Rockridge, Oakland)

  • 54
  • Share

Has anyone tried it yet?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
Delete
Posting Guidelines | FAQs | Feedback
Cancel
  1. I looked in Friday night, it was insanely packed.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Robert Lauriston

      Like Robert, I looked in Friday (sometime between 6:30 & 7) and it was packed with people waiting in the bar area and on the sidewalk. Didn't wait.

      1. re: drewskiSF

        We went last night for the first time. We loved it. Showed up around 5 and had about a 25 minute wait during which we enjoyed cocktails at the bar.

        Here is what we ate:

        mixed pickle dish: excellent. all were great and I especially enjoyed the eggplant.

        Fried rice with squid, nettles, cilantro, pork and chili paste: delicious! One of the best things I have eaten all year. I did not find it greasy at all and the squid were perfectly tender. Coriander is a seasoning that varies greatly in quality. Good quality coriander can really elevate a dish. There was a really nice touch of high quality coriander that elevated the depth of flavors in the fried rice. I loved it.

        Shoyu Ramen with Meyer lemon, scallops, pork: Excellent. The Meyer lemon was a comforting counterpoint to the umami richness of the broth.

        Miso ramen with smoked black cod with ground pork belly and peas. Excellent. Had an earthy smokiness that was very good.

        I liked the scallop ramen better, significant other liked the cod ramen better. We were too full for dessert.

        Kind of pricy (bill including cocktails and 2 glasses of wine just over $100, but service and food were excellent.

         
         
         
    2. Only second hand, but I heard some disappointing reports from trusted foodies. It sounds like it might be not enough food, a bit overpriced, and not stacking up to places in San Mateo.

      I did try SOBO, also in Oakland and fairly recently opened, and found it to be quite passable --- my favorite place in the East Bay so far. Enjoyed the spicy miso ramen, the noodles were good, and the ability to add a la carte veggies and other items is nice. Good tofu too and we got out for less than $25 for dinner for two.

      7 Replies
      1. re: hungree

        i thought the place was still closed, but i guess keeping construction paper on windows is très chic?

        many current reviews here...

        http://www.yelp.com/biz/ramen-shop-oa...

        1. re: hungree

          tried the Sobo ramen(11.95) the first week. really disappointing..

          -subtle broth of organic chicken and pork bones overpowdered by the soy sauce

          -bok choy still raw

          -ramen chewy, doughy

          -small portion
          -meat portion of pork belly chewy

          glad to hear they have improved.

          i also seen pricey criticisms of ramen shop....also small portions.

          1. re: shanghaikid

            based on the progression of yelp reviews, it seems like SOBO struggled in the beginning but made some changes

            1. re: shanghaikid

              I tried Sobo last week. They don't have the "Sobo ramen" now and the current priciest is the Tonkotsu Ramen with Tonkatsu (on the side) for $10.50.

              I tried the Tonkotsu w/ Mayu (black garlic oil, $9.50) that is like Maru Ichi's Kuro Ramen. It's topped by sprouts, negi, seasoned soft-boiled egg, chashu, and sesame seeds.

              I liked the tonkotsu broth and the additional complexity from the garlic oil. I think some MSG is involved as my thirst increased and mouth got a little cotton-y.

              Noodles are thin and slightly wavy and the egg yolk slightly gelling at the edges. The noodles were firm / al-dente, but didn't have a good chew to them. The cha shu looked to be sliced rolls of roasted pork belly with a nice mix of fat and meat and a pronounced sweetness from the marinade.

              I also had the Karaage ($6) which was a dozen or so 1-2 bite pieces of dark meat with a lemon juice dip. Lightly coated, flavorful, and juicy. Not sure if these were free-range, but the meat was quite chewy. The lemon juice dip was different, though these tasted very good by themselves.

               
               
               
              1. re: drewskiSF

                Interesting this sub-thread about Sobo in the Ramen Shop discussion. I recently tried both places within a few days of each other.

                I went to Sobo on a Saturday night by accident because I was shopping in Chinatown and wanted a quick dinner. The place for a Saturday was nearly empty except for two tables (one table of two and another table of four).

                I got the spicy miso ramen. I, too, was disappointed when I first tried Sobo soon after they opened because I thought everything was average. Now I feel it's slightly better, but not much. The ramen did seem a bit springier than before but the overall ingredients were just OK, and nothing special and definitely not high-quality. Still, it was good for a quick ramen dinner on the fly.

                I went to Ramen Shop on Friday around 5:30 p.m. and sat at the counter. Service was nice, but I notice they only talk to couples at the counter and not to solo diners, which seems odd. Anyhoo, I got the poached shrimp and little gem salad with the green goddess dressing and loved the quality of the shrimp. Really quality salad like you would expect at other fancy restaurants like Haven or Camino.

                I tried the burnt miso ramen (it also took me awhile to get the ramen after eating my salad) and it was nice noodles, with the right bite, not soft, but also kind of like soba in look and color, not really crinkly or yellow. Still, it was good and the broth was nice and rich. I really enjoyed the one piece of cha shu because it was a thick slice and really tender. The half a soft boiled egg was nice too, though I've had better. Overall, I enjoyed the bowl but I felt it was maybe on par with the ramen I've had in San Mateo, so the $16 I paid is definitely hurting the idea of ramen there when places at San Mateo would be $5 less.

                I got a cocktail ($12) for dinner too, so with the salad, drink and noodles, my tab by the end of the night with tip was nearly $50. And I didn't even try the popular ice cream cookie (too cold for me), or else I would have paid more for my dinner. The price does make me feel like Ramen Shop is more a fancy dining spot that their idea of a purist ramen joint like what they've seen traveling Japan in their research.

                For me, it's so close to where I live that I'm willing to pay the higher price to get a good bowl of ramen than to pay for the gas price to drive to San Jose or San Mateo. But it's not like I can plan a last-minute visit when I'm craving ramen. I feel like I have to plan ahead to avoid the crowds and save up money to pay for it. :)

                1. re: singleguychef

                  I believe the noodles aren't yellow because they put the alkaline salts in the boiling water rather than the noodle dough.

                  Ramen Shop is clearly not trying to be much like a Japanese ramen shop, though that's what inspired them. This interview with the owners gives some insight into their thinking:

                  http://insidescoopsf.sfgate.com/blog/...

                  1. re: Robert Lauriston

                    I think people forget that ramen differs by location in Japan. The ramen you get in Sapporo is different than Hiroshima, so to me it makes perfect sense that we have a "California" ramen. Ramen shops in Japan also create their own original ramens or seasonal versions.

                    I personally like the ramen I had when I went last weekend. This is easily my favorite place in the East Bay to get ramen.

          2. I tried Ramen Shop on a Saturday. We got there at about 4:30pm and waited about 30 min for a seat at the bar. The windows were still covered with paper that night. They had three types of ramen that night - one with meyer lemon, a vegetarian option, and a spicy miso. We ordered the spicy miso ramen and also an avocado and citrus salad and a bowl fried rice as appetizers. I liked the appetizers - the citrus and avocado salad had a green goddess like dressing and the orange and grapefruit slices complemented the richness of the avocado. A bit out of place for a ramen restaurant, but it was good. The pork and squid fried rice was also quite good. I liked the spicy miso ramen as well. The noodles had a good chew to them, and the single piece of chashu was tasty and had the right amount of fat. It came with half of a soft boiled egg and a few greens. The spicy miso broth was pretty flavorful but could have used a touch less salt.

            Overall I'd say this is the best ramen I've had in the east bay, although I haven't tried that many places here (Manpuku, Norikonoko, and Ryowa), but it's not as good as the best I've tried in the peninsula (Ramen Parlor and Santa, haven't been able to try Ramen Dojo or Santouka yet). I'd say it's about on par with Himawari maybe, but with better noodles. It is also a bit expensive. Most ramen bowls were around $15, which is ~50% more than the places down in San Mateo, and the portions are also smaller. My bowl could have used another piece of chashu.

            1. Went for dinner last night around 9pm. Bar was empty or close to it, dining area was still almost full but we got seated immediately.

              Pickled mackerel with pickled daikon and erengi mushrooms appetizer ($9) was lovely. Fried rice ($11) with shrimp, Chinese sausage, and I don't know what was very good.

              Shio tonkatsu ramen ($16), deep, complex, delicious broth, lots of great chewy (thanks to alkaline boil) noodles, piece of char siu big enough it was hard to eat with chopsticks (maybe bigger than usual because they had run out of clams). I'm no ramen connoisseur but this was the best I've had. Really a great addition to the East Bay scene.

              Ice cream sandwiches ($6 each) were very good, I preferred the salty brown-butter black sesame, the malted milk tasted more like chocolate chip, both very adult and not so sweet. I took one bite and waited ten minutes for them to warm up a bit, much improved.

              Good beverage list though seemed a bit odd that there was no sake or shochu. Gold Leaf cocktail tasted a lot like mulled cider. Got a bottle of the hard-to-find Arnot-Roberts Trousseau, very nice with the ramen.

              Looks like they might be backing off the original late-night hours, when we walked the sign said 4-12 except Tuesdays, on the way out it that sign was gone and they had posted a note that said to check the web site for new hours.

              6 Replies
              1. re: Robert Lauriston

                Wow $16 for a shio tonkatsu ramen? Isn't that a bit expensive? Does the tonkatsu come on the side?

                1. re: vincentlo

                  from everything i've read of Ramen Shop, i'll bet it was Shio-Tonk(o)tsu (similar to Santouka), not ramen with breaded, fried pork cutlet ;-)

                  haven't been yet so can't comment on the price / value

                  1. re: drewskiSF

                    A common mistake is to confuse "tonkatsu" (fried pork cutlet) with "tonkotsu soup" (pork-bone soup) when writing about ramen. The slight variations in name results in huge confusion.

                  2. re: vincentlo

                    It's significantly more expensive but they're using all top-quality ingredients, everything is fresh and made from scratch, and the level of service is much higher than at a typical ramen shop.

                    The pork is sliced from a roast.

                    1. re: Robert Lauriston

                      On my one and only visit so far, I found the quality of my bowl (of burnt miso ramen) quite good - the springy texture of the noodles was particularly welcome, but yeah, charging something like 50% more than South Bay ramen shops for a pretty small bowl of ramen takes some cojones. And my bowl took an inordinately long time to show up (at 10pm on a weeknight, so it wasn't about the meal-time rush).

                  3. re: Robert Lauriston

                    Tasting Table explains why the fried rice was so tasty: it includes lard and house-made shrimp paste.

                    http://www.tastingtable.com/entry_det...

                  4. Finally, an Asian restaurant in Rockridge that's open till midnight every day (except Tuesday)!

                    No tonkatsu ramen tonight, but I got to try a shot glass of the broth. Very rich broth, full of flavor, almost creamy in consistency.

                    Fried rice with nettles and pork was too greasy. It would have been nice if more fat had been rendered from the chunks of pork so as to help concentrate their flavor.

                    The first half of the bowl of black miso ramen was dominated by ginger. As I got down to the bottom, the flavor got more balanced, but there was some grittiness. The slices of pork were great and thicker/bigger than those I've been served on the peninsula. There was also some cabbage, green onion, and a really enjoyable half of an egg. There's also no sichimi togarashi, soy sauce, or other condiments out on the tables.

                    My favorite thing was actually the black sesame ice cream sandwich. Delicious and something I'd easily return for.

                    At least when I was there at about 10:30, the staff was very conversational. The place has a really nice vibe--- everyone in the kitchen seemed upbeat and excited to be working there, like they were a group of old friends.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: hyperbowler

                      I agree on the black sesame ice cream sandwich - great flavors/textures, especially after you let it sit for a bit.

                      Staff was friendly, if not totally reliable (I asked for sichimi from two different people because the first one seemed to promptly forget what the word meant after she left my presence). The sichimi was actually very good - fresh - I think they may be getting the mix from Oakland Spice Shop.

                      Had the pickled mackerel to start - good flavors but the texture of the mackerel was unexpectedly tough and dry.

                      Ramen... veggie miso broth relied too much on miso for flavor so it was like eating soba noodles in miso soup that had not been made properly (lacking some sort of dashi). Ya can't make veggie dishes salty and call it done. They say they make noodles fresh and they do have a noodle machine (you can see it at the far end of the counter) but they lack the bouncy, slurpy texture that I love about ramen. They do cook it katamen style, which I appreciate, but sorry, can't call it ramen without the bounce/slurp combo. Salt-cured egg was done proper. But that and a toddler's handful of mizuna and half a trumpet mushroom just did not keep my attention away from the lack of depth in the soup and the aforementioned noodles.

                      ML got the burnt miso, which comes with an oil slick on top - ML really enjoyed the thick slice of pork but pronounced it was "American" because it was a big hefty meaty chunk without subtlety. Darn, like we need another ramen snob in the family!

                      A note about size: usually, I never order anything other than the actual ramen because I'm usually too full, but here, I had half the appetizer and the full bowl of ramen and still had ample room to share the ice cream cookie sandwich (actually could have eaten one by myself). I think this may have been the smallest serving of ramen I've ever had. Ever.

                      I was hoping for someplace closer to home that I could go to satisfy my ramen cravings. Will try Sobo next, maybe this week during ORW.

                    2. I went in last night to try the bar as a bar. It's excellent if you can snag one of the booths. The stretch of College north of BART is really short on full bars.

                      I saw Alice Waters and Michael Pollan, which drove home to me that one reason the prcies are higher than at a typical ramen shop is that they source most if not all their ingredients through Chez Panisse-style alternative channels.

                      They had a different pork broth last night. I liked it even better than the last bowl. Great late-night bar snack.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Robert Lauriston

                        Really pleasant surprise to see that they devoted half the space to a full bar (w no diners hogging the space), which early reports d/n mention. The space is set up so that one can have a drink and then grab a dining stool when it becomes avail. I daresay the bar really tips it for me--I see the food as a nice accompaniment.

                        Some notes after one outing:
                        - Top notch pork used for chashu, the fat is telling
                        - Housemade shichimi, very fresh w nice heat
                        - Noodles firmness held up for the duration of the bowl
                        - I had a pork based miso broth that I'm pretty sure had been made with head or feet bc it was so viscous. I like a thinner broth so I watered it down and the flavor held up.
                        - Would love a greater variety of toppings and more of them---aside from chashu and mizuna, I'm hard pressed to recall what else was on top.

                        It seems that they they're changing up the menu regularly so there will more opps for new flavors. For me the serving size was just right, leaving room for other tastes. Given the kitchen and staff size I suspect the offerings may expand once they get in their groove. This is not the one bowl meal size nor is it the smallest portion I've ever been served or anything like that. A worthy addition to the neighborhood.

                      2. My two cents:

                        Ramen was delicious. Tasted both shoyu tonkotsu and Hokkaido miso. Rich, flavorful soups- this is where most of the long-term East Bay ramen shops start and fail. I liked it as much as I like Ramen Dojo ~ Santouka ~ Ramen Parlor > Santa >> Sobo ~ Ramen Club >> Katana-Ya (El Cerrito) ~ Ryowa ~ Ajisen.

                        It's clear as others note that the ingredient quality (in the modern foodie sense) is paramount, more so than at Ramen Dojo/Santouka. As I started I thought the chashu was a little underseasoned and could have used a little more going on, but I could really taste the meat quality and after a few more bites I withdrew that initial reaction.

                        As a lover of bamboo shoot, I'm excited to see what they can do with menma; I didn't see any in any of the three ramens that they offered that night.

                        $6 pickled vegetables (mushrooms, especially and /napa/radish)and $12 smoked black cod (with beet, citrus and mizuna or arugula) appetizers were both delicious; the latter resembled appetizers you might get at Pizzaiolo or Camino.

                        I get others' sense that $15 is too much for ramen; I am definitely of the camp that has trouble some times paying for "fancy" versions of supposedly or commonly cheap foods, but the main reason is that most of those places fail to deliver on taste while still charging you a premium and delivering it with attitude (not in the good way). This place is really competing with places like Pizzaiolo and Camino, and delivering at that level.

                        Compared to Ramen Dojo, etc, I didn't think it was a particularly small size serving.

                        That said, when do we get an East Bay version of Ramen Dojo/Santouka/Santa? I'd get dinner at a place like that a couple times a week if I could.

                        I'll visit Ramen Shop again whenever I can avoid the wait (early/late).

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: twocents

                          I've been two more times and have continued to be impressed by the taste and quality. One issue I did have in the first two visits was the the noodles ended up a little soft. I wasn't sure if it was overcooking or maybe a delay between cooking and service. Reading a little about noodle making I suspect it could have been that they were a little too fresh (supposedly that type of noodle benefits from an overnight rest). Whatever the issue I have to say that the third time was the charm; the delicious noodles were perfectly toothsome.
                          I've also been impressed with the variety of bowls that they put out. I tried the vegetarian version; the broth had great body and depth of flavor, and the mushroom topping choices were perfectly seasoned and textured. I don't think I've had a veg ramen that I found satisfactory before this one. The Meyer lemon shoyu was delicious. The lemon is not in your face but you would miss it if it were gone. If I had to pick some minor flaws I would say that a couple of the tonkotsu variants I tasted were a bit too fishy for me. Not sure if it was heavy use of bonito in the tare, or bonito or niboshi in the actual soup. But that's also somewhat a matter of taste. Also, the spicy miso I tasted maybe had a little too much miso; alternately it may have benefited from cooking the miso first. I don't mind a really heavy use of miso, but I do find the raw bean paste flavor a little distracting.
                          Chashu donburi has been wonderful on a couple visits. I really appreciate the pickles included in the topping.

                          1. re: twocents

                            They don't make traditional alkaline noodles, they put alkaline salts in the cooking water.

                        2. Finally got in there tonight. Spousette & I walked in at 5:30, were told it would be 40-60 min. wait, so we went windowshopping & came back at 6pm. While we waited another 15-20 min. the hostess was really good about coming by every so often & telling us where we were in the lineup.

                          We sat at the bar w/ a good view of all the kitchen activity. I agree w/ hyperbowler about the very nice vibe. Service was excellent throughout.

                          We ate:

                          Little gems w/ smoked black cod, beets & avocado-sesame dressing, $12. Delicious, hearty, perfectly balanced winter salad.

                          Shio yuzu kosho ramen w/ spit-roasted Llano Seco chashu, shoyu egg, mizuna & kale crisp $14. I didn't taste this, but spousette was very happy & drank every last drop of broth.

                          Veggie miso ramen w/ king oyster mushrooms, salt-cured egg, mizuna, $13. I have to say: best bowl of ramen I have ever had. I was in ecstasy from the first taste of the broth. Rich, complex & well-balanced miso w/ subtle ginger & heat, not too salty, & the guy behind the counter said they had smoked vegetables for it. I could drink that stuff all day. The noodles were nice & bouncy. I appreciate having something fresh & green in the bowl.

                          It was the perfect size for me & I liked the proportion of other stuff relative to noodles. I can see how folks much bigger than me might think it was too small; most bowls of ramen are too big for me. Then again I have never met a ramen broth I wanted to *drink all up* before.

                          Black sesame ice cream sandwich w/ brown sugar cookies $6. We liked this but I felt the sesame was a little overpowered by the sweetness of the cookies. This came with tiny cubes of meyer lemon pate de fruit, which went pow! in the mouth. Delightful. I think they must have paid heed to earlier comments about letting this dessert sit, because when it came to us the ice cream was a good texture.

                          I am so very happy to have this in the neighborhood. We plan to go back often! I have no problem w/ the price/value here. $57.05 grand total incl tax & tip. I don't see why ramen "should" be cheap, unless it's mostly salt, MSG & packaged fishcakes you're eating w/ the noodles.

                          1. For the last few nights they've been offering a "tantanmen" style ramen, so it's like dan dan mein with the spicy ground pork sauce. For awhile I think they were serving it with the ramen noodles in a bowl and the sauce on top. But last night when I went they decided to start serving it more like ramen, so it was the sauce pour over the ramen broth. It was a hearty bowl, and not super spicy. Probably not authentic like dan dan mein, but still interesting.

                            I tried the fried rice (this time it was with shrimp, no longer serving with squid) for the first time and loved the flavor.

                            I went early on a Sunday night at 5:15 p.m. and the wait quoted was 1.5 hours. Luckily it was just "under" an hour. Still, quite a bit of a wait for just two people.

                            9 Replies
                            1. re: singleguychef

                              I finally made it to Ramen Shop and was pleasantly surprised. I ordered the Spicy Ramen with clams and ground pork belly. The ramen was cooked perfectly and the broth had this full-bodied flavor that's hard to find in most ramen restaurants. I especially liked the medium-boiled egg. Only minor critique is that the broth was a tad salty, but it still didn't stop me from having every last drop.

                              For $15 a bowl, I found the price reasonable given the careful preparation involved and the high quality ingredients used.

                              They had about 20 people in the kitchen (found out they were in the middle of a shift change). However, the numbers person inside of me is wondering how they will turn a profit with all that labor (there was also about 10 staff working the tables) and the cost of high quality ingredients, even at $15 a bowl.

                              Anyway, I ordered the Black Sesame ice cream sandwich for dessert. I love black sesame ice cream, but unfortunately did not find this that exciting. The cookie took away from the sesame flavor.

                              Regardless, I plan on going back soon to try the other stuff on the menu. I want to try the fried rice and tonkatsu ramen.

                              I hope this place makes it in the long run. The people were all very friendly and eager to please. Nice addition to the Rockridge neighborhood, and finally some good ramen in the East Bay.

                              1. re: calalilly

                                They're open only for dinner and they have two shifts? I guess that makes sense, they have a lot of prep to do before service.

                                I'm figuring the bulk of any profits will come from the bar.

                                1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                  I overheard who I think was one of the owners talking to a woman sittng at the bar area. He said something about how because the broths take hours to prep, they have a morning shift that preps all the food. Which I guess makes sense, but still a lot of labor to pay for.

                                  I hope they sell a lot of drinks!

                                2. re: calalilly

                                  Tried the clam ramen last night and I found it less distinctive than the veggie or the pork miso from the other night. It wasn't spicy to my taste, and the oil on top retained a lot of heat and was unexpectedly scalding on the way down. Preferred the veggie miso which had a lovely broth with a good hint of ginger. Local pickled herring roe salad was a fine start. The Japanese Hibiki whiskey they offer is stellar, although the highball is too watered down for my taste. Looks like the weekday hours have cranked back to ~1030 close. Seats really open up starting 945.

                                  1. re: rubadubgdub

                                    What was the broth for the clam ramen you had?

                                    1. re: JonDough

                                      I couldn't really tell by taste but I think it was pork based (spicy clam and pork belly ramen was its name) because there was no defining sea taste. Perhaps it got a bit muddled by the chili oil float on top. Either that or I rendered my tastebuds temporarily inoperable by drinking scalding oil.

                                      Oh and the pork belly was like ground pork in crumbles, which I thought odd.

                                      1. re: rubadubgdub

                                        Thank you. I was just asking because I had the clams in a shio broth and it gave the broth a pleasant ocean-y flavor. I want to try the ramen you had minus the clams.

                                        1. re: JonDough

                                          If you minus the clams, the spicy pork ramen sounds like the tantanmen version they did earlier.

                                  2. re: calalilly

                                    I love the other items like the salads and fried rice. Clam ramen sounds interesting. They really are changing up their menu, which sounds fun and keep things interesting, but I'm still waiting for the Hokkaido style tonkotsu ramen to come back on the menu. It hasn't been on the few times I've visited. They really need to update their Facebook page with the changing menu so people can check before going.

                                    http://focussnapeat.com/

                                3. New hours: closed Tuesdays, 4-10:30 weeknights, midnight Friday and Saturday.

                                  1. We went early on Saturday (4:30) and snag the last couple of spots at the counter. It was fantastic. We had the pickled vegetables and mackerel and the wild nettle fried rice to start (the pickles a great foil for the rice). And the spicy miso ramen, and shio ramen w/ clams/chashu. Too much food, but I would get it all again.

                                    When we left at 5:30-ish, the bar was packed and the sidewalk full of people waiting for a seat.

                                    1. Have been there 4 times now; the hostess remembered my name the last time I walked in!

                                      On every return visit I prepare myself for disappointment, thinking I may have overhyped the memory in my own head, but turns out I am thrilled all over again. I always get whatever veggie ramen they've got; this last time w/ wonderfully smoky mushrooms on top.

                                      Crazy good: a mini drumstick dessert, pecan-crusted chocolate caramel ice cream in a cute little cone that might have come from Ici.

                                      Note: while waiting, we decided to snack at the flatbread place next door. We probably should have tried the flatbread instead of the caesar salad, which you should not bother with; the lettuce was perfectly fine but there is more to salad than throwing lettuce in a bowl with some over-salted pita chips & a little tub of thick dressing. Expecting customer to dress & toss their own salad is a pet peeve of mine. Based on the salad I am unlikely to give the flatbreads a chance, but maybe they're good & the salad was just a poor afterthought.

                                      5 Replies
                                      1. re: indigirl

                                        The flatbread place is Jules Thin Crust?

                                        1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                          Yes. Have you tried it?

                                          1. re: indigirl

                                            No, I hadn't even heard that it opened.

                                            1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                              The Jules(es) in PA are great -- I hope this offshoot is too. I'm out in Oakland on business often, but the original Jules is my usual pizza place back at home.

                                        2. re: indigirl

                                          I agree that the ramen has been consistently good. On a bright note, I was solo last Friday evening and slid right into a seat within minutes of arriving ~ 8p. Couples were being told the wait was 1 hr.

                                        3. Went last night and this time didn't bother ordering ramen. I just made a dinner of the wok-smoked cod with asparagus and the cha shu donburi.

                                          The smoked cod dish was nice, especially the perfectly cooked asparagus. They were so thick, but they shaved the skin and looked like they blanched it, so it was served cold. But it was cooked and crispy, really refreshing with the cara cara orange segments.

                                          The donburi is unusual, and kind of reminds me of their fried rice dish. But it comes looking almost like bibimpap with the various elements in sections that you mix altogether. There's the cubed cha shu that's been pan-fried, then some pickled ginger, pickled radish, radish shavings, fresh peas, and what seemed like either konbu or kiraage mushrooms. In the center was a raw yolk (just the yolk). I liked the mixure of all the flavors and tastes, but I wished the cha shu wasn't pan-fried. I think I would have enjoyed it more as cha shu slices like how it's on the ramen. Still, it was a filling dinner for when you don't feel like ramen. Oh, I got there at 5:30 p.m. on a Thursday and it wasn't crowded yet. Got a seat at the counter no problem.

                                          1. Finally got there! Concur w/ positive comments above re veggie ramen. Delighted to try it and eager to try other dishes soon. Also wanted to underscore comments about how nice everyone was. I was by myself; and the hostess was lovely, really went out of her way to make me feel welcome and attended to (wait 20-30 min @ around 6 pm)--and the cooks all seemed to be enjoying themselves and each other. Delighted when a place that seems so hip gives off so little attitude.

                                            1. A p.s. Or really two.

                                              1. I continue to love this place. But finally found something I didn't love (though others clearly do): the black sesame ice cream sandwiches. I adore the strawberry shortcake ice cream bars. Fruit and cold, a perfect end to a ramen meal. I found the black sesame flavor neither interesting nor bright. And while the strawberry jelly paired perfectly with the strawberry shortcake bars, the cherry jelly didn't bring anything to the black sesame party--and wasn't even very-cherry-tasting (wouldn't have guessed the fruit, had I not known). Next time will try the frozen melon bar, for which I have high hopes.

                                              2. Went this last time w/ a professional in the food biz (which I'm certainly not). And we talked about something I'd noticed but not remarked on in prior visits--the restaurant was full, with folks waiting, as usual--and while many kitchen staff were working their tails off, there were lots of times when a couple/few are standing around, watching others or chatting or doing the kind of prep that you'd think would be done earlier in the day (eg. slicing pork belly). And my friend was puzzled by how much physical space there was in the kitchen, being used to a tighter shop, both re every last person busting ass every second and re physical lay-out. None of this takes away from the fact that it's a wonderful restaurant. But if we're on to something--and it's completely possible that we just don't get this sort of operation--it would surely have some impact on their bottom line--and maybe even on the prices passed along to us.

                                              4 Replies
                                              1. re: sundeck sue

                                                I liked the black sesame a lot after I waited ten minutes for it to warm up. It's too cold to enjoy when it comes out.

                                                1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                  Say more re what you liked about the black sesame flavor, when it did warm up?

                                                  And I'm curious, given your expertise, re your thoughts re my query re kitchen organization.

                                                  1. re: sundeck sue

                                                    Black sesame has an earthy, mineral quality that I don't expect in ice cream. I'm not big on sweets so everything that offsets that is a plus to me.

                                                    The chef-owners came from Chez Panisse. They could be giving up some potential profits in exchange for having a more enjoyable and relaxed work environment that won't leave them burned out in a few years.

                                                    1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                      As always, helpful and interesting. Thanks.

                                              2. I tried the miso ramen a while back, and for some reason the broth was really oily, like a thick layer of oil sitting on top of the bowl. Noodles were too thin for my liking. One slice of chashu that was about half fat. I didn't finish the bowl.

                                                I tried my friend's shoyu meyer lemon broth and thought it was just ok.

                                                 
                                                1. Went last night for a late (post-movie @ around 11 pm) dinner. No wait and a (per usual) delicious meal.

                                                  One of the things I've enjoyed there is that while it looks like a hipster scene, the servers are always friendly and un-edgey in dealing with us non-hipster oldsters.

                                                  Last night, the hostess brought us our bill at around midnight and said (in that friendly, un-edgey tone): "So, out late tonight?"

                                                  Pretty sure she didn't say that to the rest of the crowd, all easily half our ages! At least she didn't call my husband, "Gramps."