I’m not a Ramen expert but Elaine and Joy are, and last night Lisette and I joined them at their favorite noodle shop: Santa Ramen.
Santa Ramen is small (6 tables and a counter to sit at), and it is always crowded so you will likely wait to be seated. The waiting procedure is sometimes complicated: you sign a crowded list posted outside and you look forward to be called for “inside waiting.” For the novice, the summons is fake-out, but fortunately the promotion from inside waiting to table doesn’t take long. Santa Ramen discourages lingering once a customer’s meal is done.
It also shouldn’t take long to decide what to order. There are three broths to choose from: soy bean based (miso), soy sauce based (shoyu), and pork flavor (tonkotsu), and these form the headings on the giant menu on the wall. Pork flavor is the way to go.
Once that selection is made you select an option underneath. They have seaweed ramen, corn ramen, bamboo shoot ramen, garlic ramen, etc. They were sold out of stewed pork (Elaine and Joy’s favorite) so we all opted for roast pork instead. As the picture above suggest, each order comes with noodles, green onions and pickled ginger. We removed our ginger but proceed to savor each bit of what remained.
Everything in the bowl is tasty but the superstar is the broth. Joy thought its pork-flavored goodness came from fat, Elaine described it as proteinaceous. I just think it is wonderful.
I like Ramen Club in Burlingame, but the best ramen I have ever had is at Santa Ramen. As soon as my arteries recover from the sodium and fat that is likely still circulating, I will return for another large bowl of Japanese goodness.
Santa Ramen: 805 S B St, San Mateo, CA (650) 344-5918