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Littleneck clam salt ramen @ Tanto, Sunnyvale

Melanie Wong | Dec 22, 200410:38 PM

No one else reading along could have been sadder to read Cary's account of the clam ramen at Tanto's San Jose branch. This had been my third favorite bowl of ramen in the Bay Area - wonderfully pure and sweet flavor of sweet clams with just a touch of butter and garlic to round out the flavors in the mouth. Then my spirits brightened when Pekoe Peony reported that the chef had allegedly moved to Tanto's new location in Sunnyvale. Maybe the original asari ramen recipe had survived the move.

Last week I stopped in at lunch time (ramen is a lunch-only order) to try it out. Listed on the menu as "Littleneck clam salt ramen", the broth is much different than what had been served before in San Jose. Darker in color, smoky, deeper, and much saltier with not only clam essence but an earthier and brinier taste (kombu? bonito?) too. This lent more flavor to the noodles, but as something to sip, I didn't enjoy it as much as the pure clam version. The beautifully fresh and sweet tiny clams (eight of them) were as wonderful as ever. The toasty sesame seeds and slippery seaweed added interest too. The fresh noodles were not cooked as firm and turned a bit soft towards the end.

I liked this and would order it again, but I don't love it as much. So I'll knock it down to #7 from #3.

1. Ramen Halu, San Jose
2. Santa, San Mateo
3.&4. Ryowa, Mountain View and Berkeley
5. Himawari, San Mateo
6. Maru Ichi, Mountain View
7. Tanto, Sunnyvale
8. Gen Ramen, Fremont
9. Masa’s Sushi, Mountain View
10.Tomoe, San Rafael
11.Do-Henkotsu, San Jose
12.Kaimuki Grill, San Mateo
13.Ramen Club, Burlingame
14.Sushi Bistro, San Francisco
15.Lakuni, San Mateo
16.Manpuku, Berkeley
17.Tanpopo, San Francisco
18.Suzu Noodle House, San Francisco
19.Oidon, San Mateo
20.Katanaya, El Cerrito
21.Sapporo-ya, San Francisco
22.Tokyo Ramen, Fremont
23.Hotei, San Francisco
24.Bear’s Ramen House, Berkeley

If anyone has discovered anything new under the ramen sun, please let us know. Otherwise, I'm running out of options and will soon be winding down the ramen run.



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