Saturday, December 26, 2015
San Francisco has been blessed with decent Shanghainese resturants over the years and noodle-centric establishments featuring house-made Chinese noodles of varied provenance, but until now the two have never really overlapped. Gourmet Noodle House, which opened two weeks ago at Geary and 2nd, is either an outpost of the Shanghai mian guan (noodle shop) chain of the same name or a brazen knock-off. The fledgling local eatery and the Shanghai chain have identical signage, identifying themselves as "Jia You Hao Mian (roughly "Good home-style noodles") in large Chinese characters and "Hu Wei Chuan Mian Guan" (Traditional Shanghai Flavor Noodle Shop) in smaller characters, in addition to the English name.
The fried tofu side dish was pleasing as well, adding protein and textures to the meal. A heap of crispy, non-greasy cubes of tofu were intertwined with slices of raw onions and jalapenos. It was a bargain, at $3.95.
Where slurped: Gourmet Noodle House, 3751 Geary Blvd., San Francisco
Saturday, December 12, 2015
When Matt Cohen, co-founder of Off the Grid and food truck mogul, quit the hotel management business, all he wanted to do was to sell ramen from a truck. But he found the permitting process in San Francisco so opaque and arbitrary and the prospect of success so unpredictable that he turned his efforts to decoding the process, steering others through it, and lobbying (successfully) for a more transparent, faster and fairer permitting system. In the process he began building an empire of food truck venues for himself, and eased the way for for individual entrepreneurs to launch food trucks. Like Torraku Ramen.
Torraku Ramen uses a ticketing system popular in Japan and some stateside venues where the user marks and hands in a ticket indicating their choice of broths and toppings and any add-ins they desire. (You can, of course, verbally order and make the cashier do the work) The truck offers tonkotsu, shoyu, miso and curry broths with choice of chashu (pork shoulder) or kikuni (pork belly) toppings for $12, or seafood ramen for $13. There's also a veggie option with a choice of three toppings for $12. The price may seem a little steep, though a double digit price is becoming more the rule than the exception at new ramen joints. There are also various add-ins available for $1-$3, and a surcharge for black garlic and "Extra Spicy" options. Gyoza and other typical ramen shop sides are also available.
Where slurped: Torraku Ramen at SoMa StrEat Food Park, 428-11th St., San Francisco