They have changed the menu a bit. They have removed the shio and shoyu ramen and replaced it with some tonkotsu broth based ramen. They also have an “everything” ramen, which means they put all the toppings on it, I guess including pork and seafood. I didn’t get that, as it sounded too much like throwing in the kitchen sink, which often takes away from the experience.
This time we got the #1 clam ramen (again) and the #3 tonkotsu ramen, although with some of their delicious yaki onigiri. The soup was very good. Although the clam ramen lists a tonkotsu based broth, it was different from the broth for the straight tonkotsu ramen. The clam soup broth was more delicate with more of a seafood flavor. The tonkotsu broth was extremely rich and creamy with great sweetness. The noodles were a tiny bit thicker than is my absolute preference, but that is just my preference. The toppings were good. We had to pay extra for an egg in the clam ramen, which was more cooked than I like (it was not fully hard boiled, but the yolk was not soft), but marinated to a nice color. The kikurage was particularly flavorful with a nice texture. The pork slices in the tonkotsu ramen had a great texture, although the broth itself was so rich that I thought it made the chashu seem a bit bland by comparison. I would have liked them to stand out a bit more. The rest of the veggie toppings were good. The clams were nice. Although, the clam ramen did also include some scallops, which I don’t know was intentional or just part of some general disorganization the evening I was there.
The yakionigiri were delicious. We got the takana and umeboshi (pickled plum). There was a little piece of each respective type pickle on the side of the plate, which we took to indicate the respective filling, however it was the reverse of what was inside the rice ball. Again, part of what seemed like disorganization. You can see in the picture that the rice ball with the little bit of red umeboshi next to the takuan pickle slices was actually the rice ball with the takana (pickled mustard greens) inside. Note the katsuobushi shavings, which were moving prettily in the heat and steam from the hot rice balls.
Overall, the food was excellent. The service was friendly. However, it did seem a bit disorganized. When we were seated at our table there was only one serving place (chopsticks and napkin), so I asked the waitress for another one. She never brought it. When we were served the yakinonigiri, I asked the waiter for chopsticks as well. He also immediately seemed to forget and I sat for quite a while looking at my delicious hot rice balls, as he went about doing other tasks, taking orders, etc. until I could finally get his attention again and ask for some utensils. Asking three times for utensils so you can eat your meal is a bit frustrating, and as mentioned in the food section. It did seem a bit disorganized.
Another thing to note is that there is a strong seafood smell when you first enter. It’s not entirely pleasant as you first walk inside. Ramen places are often steamy, particularly little hole in the wall places in Japan. During the cold winter, you walk into a place, steamy and hot and it can be actually pretty nice. However, in this case in a restaurant in downtown Sunnyvale it’s not really pleasant. A ramen place has huge pots of broth steaming away, and in this case they are using lots of fish bits, so the smell is understandable but something to be prepared for when you enter.
Very good soup…