As a frequent reader here (but first-time poster) I thought I'd do my part to spread the word about a restaurant I'd run across in San Mateo that succeeds at what so many other Japanese restaurants fail at: authentic handmade Udon noodles, done right!
Tombo is a small noodle restaurant tucked into downtown San Mateo and is actually quite easy to overlook... I'd walked by several times before even noticing they were open for business before finally stopping by - and once I did I kicked myself for missing out so long!
A lot of places use frozen noodles that end up mushy and starchy when cooked; The noodles at tombo are just the way they should be: not too soft, and almost chewy in consistency... and delicious! The effect is such that when finishing a bowl, rather than feeling stuffed with soupy starchy noodles I found myself thinking about another bowl...
If you're drinking they will supply a 'drinker's menu' that has some small appetizer dishes that are worth checking out; high points are the takoyaki (fried octopus dumplings) and nikumomiji (seasoned chunks of grilled steak)
The place is not much as far as ambience or decor (very much a mom + pop type of place, handwritten menu, etc.), but the quality of the food has been consistent the 5 times I've been there in the last month (heh heh)... Prices are only so-so; expect to pay about $7 for a bowl of noodles.
The reason I post here is because I'm desperately afraid they're going to go out of business - between their location and very low-key presence, the place has been relatively TOO quiet every time I've been there. But I think their food deserves the word-of-mouth treatment, so please give it a try, especially if you're an udon fan!
Street address is 212 2nd Street (between B St. and Ellsworth), open for lunch from 11:30 - 2:00, dinner from 6:00 to 9:30 or 10 (?)