Suzu Noodle House: Ramen in Japantown

Suzu Noodle House

1825 Post St (inside the J-town building)
(between Fillmore St & Webster St)
(415) 346-5083

After four hours, two glasses of warm water, and one hour “researching” on Yelp, I am still thinking about ramen. Suzu, what have you done to me? I finally went after Sarah had mentioned this place countless times as being a close, reliable place for some cozy hot broth and ramen noodles. Yes, many diehard Yelpers know about it, and it is quite controversial, depending if you know your ramen or not. I currently do not, and probably never will know what true homemade ramen noodle soup should taste like. But I’ve learned a few things:

  • It’s all about the broth, which should be made the old school way. That is, no shortcuts, and a lot of time cooking it.
  • Legit noodle houses can thus only focus on ramen (versus serving ramen and other Japanese “greatest hits” like sushi).
  • That broth is supposed to be salty and greasy.
  • Noodle should be handmade. Using an insta-pack is insulting to those-in-the-know but owners try to get away with this because most of us don’t know. “Ra-men” is actually a Japanese-ification of the Chinese words for “handpulled noodles”. (I can hear my mother now, proclaiming how Marco Polo stole the idea for spaghetti from the Chinese…)
  • North of Burlingame, there just aren’t many 5-star options around.

I ordered the “Mabo Ramen” which oddly isn’t on their takeout menu. But it comes with ground pork, green onions, and the mabo sauce that I usually know as “mapo” which goes on a Chinese Mapo Tofu dish.
So the pros for Suzu Noodle House:

  1. Close to my ‘hood
  2. Fast service (lots of waitresses refilling sipped tea and water cups)
  3. Big a** bowl of broth, and enough fat, salt, and noodles to put this usual carb-avoider into a blissful food coma. (If this grossed you out, consider this the Asian equivalent of a huge serving of freshly baked bread, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, oh, and some fresh butter to boot).

Semi-Cons: (Half of a full Con, so really this amounts to two Cons)

  1. Less-than-expected portions of the meat and tofu. However, I got stuffed with the noodles, so my greedy stomach only noticed this about 90 minutes after my excursion when I was hankering for some more protein.
  2. MSG. So I’ve had to have warm water since being stuffed with broth and egg noodles because I still have a mild MSG aftertaste. Or is it salt? Or is MSG some form of salt? Anyway, the MSG buzz has lingered for quite a while. I’m not sure if any other ramen noodle house can help me there, though.
  3. $7.95 o $8.95 for minimal meat and fixin’s. Granted, this is better than boiling up your own Top Ramen styrofoam concoction. I have also heard that this is about right for ramen prices in the city. But I’m wishing that dough and water was a little cheaper.
  4. Non-Japanese owners. I can’t confirm this but that’s the word on the street. Sort of disappointing only because I wonder if I could taste the difference if the food were cooked by more authentic hands. But then again, many Chinese restaurant owners open Japanese or Korean restaurants because the grub-patrons expect Chinese food to be so cheap. They can’t compete on those margins!

Overall, a positive first experience that has me keen on evaluating some other noodle shops to compare prices, tastes, and MSG levels. Stay tuned.

This entry was posted in Japan, Meals from $5-15 per main course, Western Addition. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Suzu Noodle House: Ramen in Japantown

  1. Zac says:

    because a lot of dorm rooms don’t let you bring your own ckooing devices in your room and only allow a coffee maker, and small things like that.

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