If you are what you eat, then I would probably turn into a big bowl of noodles. Seriously, it’s my very favorite thing to eat - always comforting, always delicious. So when Japan-based noodle chain Ajisen opened its first San Francisco location in the Westfield (their first No. Cal outpost is in Fremont), I was there, camera in hand, to slurp & sample their Kumamoto-style ramen.
Located in the SF Center food court (the Nordstrom side) – Ajisen is a bright, beckoning respite among typical mall offerings like Rubio’s and Panda Express. I was surprised to find actual table service (which was super quick and efficient), but noticed others going straight to the front and ordering to go, as well.
With over 300 locations worldwide (mostly in Asia) – Ajisen is known best for their tonkotsu soup base – a milky pork-bone based soup that has been simmered for hours and is just delicious. Their noodles, on the other hand, were a tad skinny and a bit lacking in comparison.
Not that I minded much. MFM and I each ordered a bowl – mine topped with thin slices of "premium" pork and his with pork ribs that were meaty and tender. Both ($9.75 each) were tasty, satisfying, and very generous. If anything, maybe some veggies or bamboo shoots would have added a nice crunch and texture to my bowl.
The waitress recommened the honey green tea aloe drink ($2.95) that was surprisingly one of the best of its kind that I’ve ever had (and I’ve had a lot.) Isn't aloe that same stuff you put on when you get a sunburn? Turns out it's really delicious.
I sat slurping my ramen and tea drink among the other diners – which I was happy to see included a wide array of folks – from shopping soccer moms and their kids to giggly teeny boppers with a few international tourist mixed in between. All enjoying the one dish that no matter where, no matter when, is always comforting, and at Ajisen especially, is always delicious.