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Curry Ramen at Santa, San Mateo

Melanie Wong | Jul 10, 200504:44 AM

Following on vliang's report of better performance at Santa on a Wednesday, my brother and I stopped in last week around 8 pm. This was William's first opportunity to try the stewed pork, as it's been sold out the other times he's accompanied me here. I kept mum about my own opinion of the pork, but did make certain to stop him from ordering extra pieces of it. (g)

We started with an appetizer, the fried pork with garlic. It looked like pork tonkatsu, a cutlet coated with a crusty breading, cut into strips, and served with a thick tonkatsu sauce dip and a wedge of lime. Cross-cut slices of mild garlic were stuffed into a pocket in the cutlet. The pork itself was on the dry side and didn't have much flavor relying on the sauce for interest. We wouldn't order this again.

William's stewed pork was no more tasty or tender than I'd had my last visit. He took one bite and then left the rest behind. He thought the noodles weren't as good as before. He did love the shoyu stock, smacking his lips and saying, "boy, that is delicious!" He drained the bowl.

I had better luck ordering the curry ramen that KK recommended. Made with the shoyu stock dotted with bits of pork fat, it tasted better than I'd expected after seeing the bowls lined up in the kitchen with a scoop of raw curry powder on the bottom. While there was a little rawness evident still, the curry had a full, rounded flavor and nice finish without any bitterness. After a while though, the heat did start to build up on me and I didn't enjoy drinking the potent stock any more. My noodles ordered "firm" were just right in texture and soaked up the curry seasoning beautifully. The two small pieces of cha shu were the best I've had here, tender and fatty, though still not that flavorful. The bowl had an excess of bamboo shoots on balance, but was quite satisfying.

I think I liked the Napa cabbage ramen here better, but this performance does recover Santa's reputation in my eyes. It holds onto its second place in the rankings.


1. Ramen Halu, San Jose
2. Santa, San Mateo
3. Ryowa, Berkeley
4. Himawari, San Mateo
5. Ryowa, Mountain View
6. Maru Ichi, Mountain View
7. Tanto, Sunnyvale
8. Do-Henkotsu House of Tokushima Ramen, San Jose
9. Gen Ramen, Fremont
10.BY Grill, San Francisco
11.Norikonoko, Berkeley
12.Masa’s Sushi, Mountain View
13.Oyaji, San Francisco
14.Maru Ichi, Milpitas
15.Tomoe, San Rafael
16.Ringer Hut, San Jose
17.Tazaki Sushi, San Francisco
18.Ramen Rama, Cupertino
19.Ogi-San Ramen, Cupertino
20.Kaimuki Grill, San Mateo
21.Tanto, San Jose
22.Okazu Ya SF (Noriega), San Francisco
23.Ramen Club, Burlingame
24.King’s Garden Ramen, Newark
25.Sushi Bistro, San Francisco
26.Lakuni, San Mateo
27.Iroha, San Francisco
28.Miraku Noodles, Walnut Creek
29.Manpuku, Berkeley
30.Tanpopo, San Francisco
31.Sushi Yoshi, Newark
32.Suzu Noodle House, San Francisco
33.Oidon, San Mateo
34.Sapporo-ya, San Francisco
35.Kamakura, Alameda
36.Tokyo Ramen, Milpitas
37.Katana-ya Ramen, El Cerrito
38.Hotei, San Francisco
39.Bear’s Ramen House, Berkeley



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