I don't speak Japanese, but my favorite words in this particular language have got to be "ramen" especially tonkotsu ramen, as of late. I don't know why it's taken me so long to discover this toothsome, simmered-pork-bone-bowl-of-goodness, or Santa Clara-based Orenchi Ramen, for that matter. But now that I have, it's all I can think about.
Even when it's over 50 miles from my home. Orenchi, which is a slang-y way of saying "my house" in Japanese, is worth every minute on the 101.
MFM and I have been here a few times now, and every time it seems its popularity has grown, as the wait for a table seems longer and longer. Its menu includes well-made and tasty appetizers including a flavorful and juicy chicken karaage, and a tasty agedashi-style eggplant (Note to self: items that are purplish-black do not photograph well. Note to readers: but don't let that deter you, it really is a delicious dish.)
But the real star is the ramen. The tonkotsu ramen comes to the table steaming hot, with a slice of pork, chewy bamboo shoots, wood ear mushrooms, green onions, salty seaweed and a gorgeous, tender, soft boiled egg. One bite of the egg unleashes the silky, creamy yolk, which is indescribeably delicious. I read subsequently that folks like to mix the yolk with the dish and eat it that way, which I have to try next time.
Orenchi's soup boasts quality ingredients like organic chicken and Canadian black pork, and a recipe that requires over 18 hours of simmering. The result is spoonful after spoonful of rich, unctious, flavorful broth. The noodles are thicker in texture than some places, but almost has to be, in order to match a soup of such substance. Soft, chewy and delicious - with just the right amount of bite.
There's something satisfying and comforting about a good bowl of ramen, and Orenchi does it exceptionally well. It's the kind of "house" that you want to call home every single day of the week.
SAMIWICH'S TASTE RATING