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Restaurants & Bars 11

Ogi-san Ramen in Cupertino report!

Cary | Mar 21, 200510:50 PM

Hearing there was a new ramen place that opened recently in the TinTin plaza in Cupertino, I drove over in the rainy and very suitable ramen-eating-weather to Ogi-san ramen. It took the location of the previous boba-Chinese-snack place.

Upon parking and entering at 8'sh pm tonight, there was only one couple eating in the restaurant, although there were some families trickling in after I sat down.

The place has a fast food feel, as you walk to the back where there is a sign that says "Order food here", and a color photo menu on the counter. There is a LCD TV hanging from a wall that has a Chinese TV station playing loudly. An Asian woman (who speaks Chinese, maybe Japanese too but I didn't try to talk to her in Japanese) greets you with a smile and gestures to the menu. Here are the choices:

1) Shio ramen : $5.50
2) Shoyu ramen: $5.50
3) Miso ramen $5.50
4) Curry ramen $5.50
5) Kimchee & pickle ramen $6.50
6) Wakeme & corn ramen: $6.50
7) Char siu ramen: $6.95
8) Pork stewed ramen: $6.95
(add 3 pieces of CA roll to any ramen order for an extra $1)
(No other appetizers, or anything else on the menu. Drinks are shown lined up on the counter)

Ok. First impressions. Wow. Cheap(er) compared to Halu or DoHenkotsu which are the competitors nearby. I thought that the charsiu ramen would be the shoyu style but with extra chaashu topping, and that the "pork stewed ramen" would be the tonkatsu ramen. I hoped that customers could order extra toppings. Since toppings are explicitly listed on the menu nor with "extra" prices, I optimistically assume (someone should try this)that if you ask for more moyashi (bean sprouts) or more seaweed, they would just give you more (being a new place and all). Next moments' thoughts are that I don't know which type to pick.

Shoyu would be a basic ramen bowl that would be good to compare to other ramenyas in the bay area, but I was also really hungry, and didn't see any oomori/dai option, or any +chaashu option to any of the ramen besides #7 (charsiu ramen). Looking at the photo of the charsiu ramen bowl, the broth was dark, so I ordered that, assuming I would get a shoyu ramen with chaashu. Oh I also got the CA roll option. It was only a buck, and I could see how good/bad it was even though I usually don't eat CA rolls.

The Asian woman points me in the direction of the table to the right of the ordering location where there are pitchers of water and barley tea, paper cups, wooden chopsticks, napkins, soy sauce bottles, and the regular Japanese condiments. I pour myself a cup of luke-cold tea and sit down at a table to the side and read my newspaper while I wait.

Maybe about three families/couples walk and order the whole time I was there. Wait time for food didn't seem that long as I was reading, but I noted that a patron who ordered after me got her miso ramen before I got my order. No big deal.

Then comes my order. The size of the order, is comparable to any normal sized order at most ramenyas. There is a spoon, that I'd say is more of a ladle, very L shaped, that can make it annoying to use.

To the heart of it: The ramen! Well first off, I see a milky brown broth. And go wow, I think I got tonkatsu ramen! Toppings that I could see were bean sprouts (moyashi), seaweed, green onions, and the salty bamboo topping (sorry can't think of it). Also a sizeable portion of chaashu that is closer in the style of Ramen Halu's chaashu, but sliced thinner. I sip some of the broth and it's has that milky sweetness, and gelatinous taste of tonkatsu ramen. It's not as salty as Halu or Santa, so my tastebuds tell me that the broth lacks some "body" (usually sodium provides some of the body). Lacks some "richness" or body of Santa's tonkatsu broth. Ogi-san's broth is probably good for ramen-fans who dislike Halu/Santa's salty broths.

The chaashu is not cold or lukewarm, as some people dislike at Halu/Santa who seemingly just drop the the chaashu on top at the end. The chaashu is at roughly the same temp. of the broth, or at least, not notably cold. The meat itself, is about the same as Halu.

The CA rolls? Well, those weren't that pretty, clearly homemade. But I can't complain too much. They were only $1. I probably wouldn't order them again, but only because I'd rather eat more ramen!

So that leaves me to wonder what the "pork stewed ramen" was on the menu. The photo has the broth looking dark as well, and is the same price as the "charsiu ramen" which I ordered. So what's differentiating the price? I don't know. I'll ask the next time I go.

Final words: Worth trying a couple of times just because of the price and 8 options. Someone should try the "pork stewed ramen"/#8 and see what they get. If you end up getting tonkatsu ramen w/o the chaashu...then, might as well get the chaashu ramen!

I'll probably go back several times, to see if I like their other options. Not as good as Halu, Santa, or Do Henkotsu. But better than Hotei or Ramen Club. So middle of the pack so far from just one tasting.

Ogi-san Ramen
10789 Blaney Ave.

Oh yeah the fast food style of ordering makes it a decision whether to tip the waitress (in this case the same woman who took my order) after I was done. I did so anyways but I imagine many people will not tip.

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