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Winter Special @ Halu in San Jose: Organic Kobe Style Beef Ramen


Restaurants & Bars

Winter Special @ Halu in San Jose: Organic Kobe Style Beef Ramen

Melanie Wong | Jan 31, 2013 06:48 PM

Organic Kobe Style Beef Ramen is Ramen Halu’s winter special, available at dinner time through January. The organic beef is from the same ranch in Nebraska that supplies Mitsuwa.

The kalbi (beef short ribs), first simmered, then marinated and grilled, were served off the bone. At first glance, I couldn’t identify these thick curlicues of beef and needed to ask my server what cut they were. The kalbi’s presented with mizuna, three toasty sheets of nori, and grilled strips of colorful peppers on a side plate. The beef cooled down considerably on the unheated plate, requiring a dip in the hot soup stock. This not only warmed up the fatty meat but imparted a deeper flavor to the soup with each dunk. Unctuously smooth in texture but with some resistance to the bite, the firmness of the rib meat made for a refreshing change from the boring buttery uniformity of sous vide cooking. Though bathed in “original soy sauce, mirin/sweet Japanese sake, and fresh squeezed orange juice” marinade so rich with collagen that it jelled on the slices like demi-glace, the full-blown beefiness of the kalbi easily stood up to the strong flavorings. Concentrated in flavor and richly marbled, the Kobe style beef had a touch of gamey complexity too. The bitter pepperiness of the raw mizuna helped cut through the beefy overload.

A sprinkle of scallions and white sesame seed floated on the bowl of noodles in soup. Ordered “less boiled”, the thick, original Halu noodles were satisfyingly chewy. The light-toned clear beef bone stock was just as transparent in flavors and as sheer as a well-made pho bo. Lively and cleansing with a lilting vegetable sweetness and minerality accenting the beef tones, the limpid stock was a brilliant counterpoint to the rich and weighty kalbi.

Here’s what the full set of Organic Kobe Style Beef Ramen, $17.50, looked like with an added ni-tamago (seasoned egg) for $1.50.

Ramen Halu is mostly about the specials for me, and the Kobe style beef ramen is another success in a long line.

1. Ramen Halu, 375 Saratoga Ave Ste M, San Jose
2. Himawari, 202 2nd Ave, San Mateo
3. Orenchi Ramen, 3540 Homestead Rd, Santa Clara
4. Santouka, 675 Saratoga Ave, San Jose
5. Maru Ichi, 368 Castro St, Mountain View
6. Izakaya Mai, 212 2nd Avenue, San Mateo
7. Gaku Japanese Charcoal Grill, 5152 Moorpark Ave, San Jose
8. Ajisen Noodle, 47890 Warm Springs Blvd, Fremont
9. Maru Ichi, 530 Barber Lane, Milpitas
10. Ramen Dojo, 805 South B St, San Mateo
11. Shalala, 698 W Dana St, Mountain View
12. Tanto, 1063 E El Camino Real, Sunnyvale
13. Izakaya Restaurant, 1335 N 1st St, San Jose
14. Alexander’s Steakhouse Lounge, 10330 N Wolfe Rd, Cupertino
15. Santa, 1944 South El Camino Real, San Mateo (post-move)
16. Do-Henkotsu House of Tokushima Ramen, 4330 Moorpark Ave, San Jose (closed)
17. Ramen Tenma, 487 Saratoga Ave, San Jose
18. Ryowa, 859 Villa St, Mountain View
19. Orson Restaurant Bar + Lounge, 508 4th St, San Francisco (closed)
20. Sumiya, 2634 Homestead Rd, Santa Clara
21. Gen Ramen, 47890 Warm Springs Blvd, Fremont (closed)
22. Hana Japanese Restaurant, 101 Golf Course Dr, Rohnert Park
23. Ken Ken Ramen, pop-up at The Corner, San Francisco (closed, moved)
24. Kyora Japanese Restaurant, 1217 Wildwood Ave, Sunnyvale (closed)
25. BY Grill, 3226 Geary Blvd, San Francisco (closed)
26. Norikonoko, 2556 Telegraph Ave, Berkeley
27. Dohatsuten, 799 San Antonio Rd, Palo Alto
28. Hana, 4320 Moorpark, San Jose
29. Ozumo, 2251 Broadway, Oakland
30. Muracci’s, 244 State St, Los Altos
31. Katanaya, 430 Geary Blvd., San Francisco
32. Tadamasa, 34672 Alvarado Niles Road, Union City
33. Masa's Sushi, 400 San Antonio Road, Mountain View
34. Ippuku, 2130 Center St, Berkeley
35. Nombe, 2491 Mission St, San Francisco
36. Gochi, 19980 Homestead Rd, Cupertino
37. Oyaji, 3123 Clement St, San Francisco
38. Ramen Misoya, 3541 Homestead Rd, Santa Clara
39. Ame Restaurant, 689 Mission St, San Francisco
40. Yu-Raku, 104 S El Camino Real, San Mateo
41. Namu, 439 Balboa St, San Francisco (moved)
42. Halu Restaurant, 312 8th Ave, San Francisco
43. Sanmi, 3226 Geary Blvd, San Francisco (closed)
44. Hatcho, 1271 Franklin Mall, Santa Clara
45. Kahoo, 4330 Moorpark Ave, San Jose
46. Tomoe, 810 3rd St, San Rafael (closed)
47. Ringer Hut, 1072 Saratoga Ave, San Jose
48. Noodle Theory, 3242 Scott St, San Francisco (closed)
49. Watami Shabu Shabu and Ramen, 5344 Geary Blvd, San Francisco (closed)
50. Where’s Buta by Elgin Espiritu and June Lee, Eat Real Festival, Oakland
51. Kumako, 211 E. Jackson Street, San Jose
52. Japanese Restaurant Hoshi, 246 Saratoga Avenue, Santa Clara
53. Ramen Club, 723 California Dr, Burlingame
54. Ryowa, 2068 University Ave, Berkeley (after ownership change)
55. King Won Ton, 1936 Irving St, San Francisco
56. Tazaki Sushi, 3420 Judah St, San Francisco
57. Ramen Rama, 19774 Stevens Creek Blvd, Cupertino (closed)
58. Ogi-San Ramen, 10789 Blaney Ave, Cupertino (closed)
59. Kaimuki Grill, 104 S El Camino Real, San Mateo (closed)
60. Tanto, 1306 Saratoga Ave, San Jose (now Dan Izakaya)
61. Okazu Ya SF (Noriega), 2445 Noriega St, San Francisco
62. King's Garden Ramen, 39055 Cedar Blvd, Newark (closed)
63. Sushi Bistro, 445 Balboa St, San Francisco
64. Genki Ramen, 3944 Geary Blvd, San Francisco
65. Mitsuwa Hokkaido festival booth, 675 Saratoga Ave, San Jose
66. Dan Izakaya, 1306 Saratoga Ave, San Jose
67. Lakuni, 325 E 4th Ave, San Mateo
68. 100% Healthy Desserts, 1155 Taraval St., San Francisco
69. Mifune, 1737 Post St, San Francisco
70. H2A Noodle, 42318 Fremont Blvd., Fremont (closed)
71. Iroha, 1728 Buchanan St, San Francisco
72. Miraku Noodles, 2131 N Broadway, Walnut Creek
73. Manpuku, 2977 College Ave, Berkeley
74. Tanpopo, 1740 Buchanan Street, San Francisco
75. Sushi Yoshi, 39261 Cedar Blvd, Newark
76. La Shang Niang Ramen (OEC), 42 Dixon Rd, Milpitas
77. Oidon, 71 E. 4th Avenue, San Mateo
78. Taraval Okazu Ya, 1735 Taraval St., San Francisco
79. Suzu Noodle House, 1581 Webster Street, San Francisco
80. Bushido Izakaya, 156 Castro St, Mountain View
81. Fresh Taste, 2107 El Camino Real, Palo Alto
82. Asuka Ramen, 883 Bush St, San Francisco (closed)
83. Sapporo-ya, 1581 Webster St, San Francisco
84. Tokyo Ramen, 678 Barber Lane, Milpitas (closed)
85. Kamakura, 2549 Santa Clara Ave, Alameda
86. Mama-san!, 312 8th Ave, San Francisco (closed)
87. Katana-ya Ramen, 10546 San Pablo Ave, El Cerrito
88. Hotei, 1290 9th Ave, San Francisco
89. Bear's Ramen House, 2521 Durant, Berkeley

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