New Ramen Joint in J-Town (Waraku) [San Francisco]
- kungful Feb 28, 2013 01:47 PM
I just got an email from Men-Oh Tokushima Ramen that they have a sister restaurant opening in J-Town:
The new place is "soft opened"
It's called Waraku located at:
1638 Post St, San Francisco, CA 94115
I haven't been, yet, but hope to hear from others if it's worth the trip.
I just went there this weekend. It was fine. Certainly the best I've had in Japantown so far, although that's not saying much (I've only been to a few). Not as good as Orenchi or Maru Ichi.
The noodles were firm and yellow, but lacked the bouncy chew that I like best (I don't like soft noodles). I had the tonkotsu ramen which came with chashu, beansprouts, shredded cloud's ear and half a smoked egg. The broth had fairly good flavor. Not too heavy or fatty. Because I try to watch my sodium intake, I personally appreciated that it wasn't overly salty but I can understand why some find it flat due to the undersalting. I love cloud's ear so I appreciated the crunch it added to the ramen but it was a bit much with the ultra firm noodles. I couldn't taste any smokiness in the egg but it was nicely cooked- tender white and a slightly runny yolk.
My companion got the shoyu ramen which came with chashu, bamboo shoots, spinach and a sheet of nori. She loved it.
You can add minced raw garlic at the table- they provide cloves and a garlic press.
I also ordered the takoyaki which appeared to be deep fried instead of griddled, so they were probably pre-made frozen ones. They were fine but nothing special.
The service was cheerful but very raw and untrained. The waitress had to have us point to what we wanted on the menu (clearly hadn't memorized it), and when the food was brought to the table, they couldn't remember who had what. It was also a little slow overall, with long gaps between each of our appetizers and the ramen. In a few months hopefully they will have figured out the kitchen timing and waitstaff training better, so I wouldn't make a final judgement on the service just yet.
Last weekend I ordered tsukemen at Waraku. The rich dipping broth had complex peppery notes and the thick noodles were pleasantly chewy. The half egg was cooked the way I like it, exactly as greymalkin described. The chashu looked dry at room temperature on the platter, but miraculously softened and separated into tender pieces as soon as it hit the hot broth.
I got a quick lunch here yesterday, chashu tonkatsu ramen. Noodles in my bowl were quite firm, but worse, the chashu slices were refrigerator cold and tough. Unlike jaspermiles', they didn't soften in broth and were just unpleasant to eat.
I liked the broth, which I also found not as salty as usual. Egg was slightly smoky. I loved the raw garlic set-up on the table.
Hmm... 'MenOh' was nothing special when I went back in August...
And seeing Melanie's post about her recent visit to MenOh... Looks like nothing has changed... :/
Hopefully this new venture will be better...
Might be checking it out tonight... ^^;
Tried out the ramen at Waraku in the old Bushi Tei place. Not crowded when we went on the early side Sun night 8/4/13 even though they had a festival outside.
Fresh garlic & garlic press at every table - nice.
B. got the fried chicken appetizer $5- he said it was good, not great. Came with a side of yellow mayo. He finished the whole thing.
I got the Tonkotsu ramen $9 - it's a small bowl of ramen, half a smoked soft broiled egg, some bamboo shoots, 2 slices of pork, kikurage-mushrooms, I asked for no bean sprouts. Broth was a bit salty, kinda fatty, I liked it fine. Noodles were a bit chewy.
B. got Kakuni Ramen w/ Tonkotsu broth - fatty pork belly ramen $12 + $1 more for extra bamboo shoots. He complained the meat was a cold when he got his ramen & had to soak it in the broth, he thought the dish was ok.
Total before tip was $29.36, charged it. 2 unisex bathroom in the back, Toto toilets no butt warmers/bidets.
M-F 11:30-2; 5:30-10
Looks like they are the same owners of Raijin Kitchen (another ramen parlor) in the Parkside District. It opened in the Spring, but it never really operated with consistent hours. I pass by it on my daily route and as of 8-05-13, the space is already up for sale. I'm going to chalk that up for poor location.
Fall 2013 update: I've had the ramen a couple more times, and my complaint about the meat (refrigerator cold and a little tough) is the same, but I very much like the spicy tan-tan noodles special they're running as an autumn supplement to the menu. House-made chicken bone broth, sesame base, a halved egg, spicy ground pork, and thick noodles. Very filling, nicely spicy, and a good lunch-time choice in the area. $8.95 for a big bowl.