There’s a new upstart in the much-contested 22nd-place spot on Melanie Wong’s rankings of ramen for the Bay Area. Kumako specializes in New York-style ramen, using a lighter and spicier stock than what you might be used to. Of the many broth options, the chef recommends miso, tonkotsu (pork bone), and shoyu (soy sauce).
The tonkotsu stock is milky-colored, much lighter and less greasy than other Hakata-style stocks in the area, and guaranteed not to put you into a lard coma. It’s spiced with garlic, a healthy dose of ginger, a whiff of anise, and much less salt than most ramen. $6.90 gets you a bowl with thick cut, tasty char shu, fermented bamboo shoots, nori, and bean sprouts, and, unfortunately, softish, gummy noodles. The only optional topping is extra char siu, but the deliciously roasted pork may be the best thing about the place–“it kinda blew my mind,” says kewlio.
Kumako [South Bay]
211 E. Jackson St., San Jose
New York Style Ramen @ Kumako in San Jose