Since no less an authority than K K recommend it (on the Mountain View Maruichi vs Ryowa ramen thread, link below), I diverted a group lunch today to Bushido and ordered the KK-praised Shoyu ramen to compare with Maruichi's which I often get. Companions ordered Mabo (Ma Po tofu) ramen and yakisoba. We started with the _kimchee_ gyoza, and followed the noodle dishes with shared Okonomiyaki pancake (cousin of Korean Pajeon, but with shredded cabbage in the batter), then a lemon parfait (nominally a dinner dessert and not quite chilled yet, but it was delicious and refreshingly light).
Server said Bushido smokes its own meats. That was evident in my Shoyu ramen, the broth (indeed good, and real) lightly smoky from the (also pleasant) shaved smoked pork in my noodle soup, which was rather simply garnished. I liked it a lot. For comparison, Maruichi's shoyu ramen is a distinct style. Its clear broth conveys to me an impression less of soy sauce than of an extra-strong clear meat broth which I like (being in the habit of making a lot of meat broths at home to cook with -- including for noodle soups). No smoke in Maruichi's. At Bushido I thought the noodles were OK, fairly standard.
The more-or-less dry soba-noodle yakisoba bowl included lots of interesting-looking garnishes. Its eater it found it a little on the bland side and preferred Maruichi's soba soups. The Mabo-tofu ramen order I didn't taste, but smelled. I didn't smell, as I'd hoped to, the signature citrusy Sichuan peppercorns of Ma Po tofu. But that soup too included a lightly smoky broth -- thickened -- which may have masked them I didn't taste the dish, but the person who ate it (who does not cook Ma-po tofu at home, yet) was not familiar enough with the spice to say, but finished the bowl and said it was only moderately spicy.
Very striking were the delicious, fresh kimchee gyoza, I'd return just for those. After the noodle soups we shared the Okonomiyaki pancake, which was compact, maybe 5 inches diameter, contained vegetables in the batter, and was complexly garnished, including a pattern of sauce and long threads of bonito flake, poking up from the pancake and (eerily) moving and undulating from the heat, as if alive. We'd deferred to the server's suggestion of the simple mochi-cheese garnish. This was a complex and delicate dish, easy to share, would make a fine starter course or an appetizer with drinks. We all enjoyed it. The lemon parfait (again, nominally a dinner offering but we had a late lunch and were able to get one) sounded like my kind of dessert and was -- light and refreshing. Layers of light cake, lemon curd, and a little whipped cream, wrapped in a temporary plastic mold that untied and unrolled, leaving the parfait free-standing, or rather, slightly slumping, as it wasn't fully chilled. Bushido has a dedicated dessert chef; other desserts offered today sounded interesting -- neither the pro-forma local Japanese-restaurant mochi balls and green-tea ice cream, nor the common gringo-restaurant Dense Chocolate This and Heavy-Cake That.
One lunch is enough for only a first impression, but it was positive. The place looked fairly elegant, and like its precursor at the same location (the unsuccessful 3TA), has a full bar. We were told a 4:30-6PM Happy-Hour deal with a separate bar menu starts Thursday the 15th, I look forward to trying it.
In the MV ramen thread, Melanie mentioned already trying Bushido, I look forward to the details.
859 Villa St, Mountain View, CA 94041
Maru Ichi Restaurant
368 Castro St, Mountain View, CA 94041
156 Castro St, Mountain View, CA 94041
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