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Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Ramen Parlor

So last month, in a moment I should file under "what was I thinking," I made a new year's resolution to eat less carbs. It lasted all of 2 1/2, maybe 3 weeks, until I heard about about Ramen Parlor, the newest member of the uber-popular ramen family that includes the crazy crowd-drawing Santa Ramen and Ramen Dojo.

Driving up to the busy San Mateo spot for lunch, I liked it better already, since RD already had a line about 25 people deep. RP is located just down the block and while it was bustling, the wait wasn’t nearly as long.

The menu is a bit limited at lunchtime, especially for our friends with kids who weren’t able to order dinner-only items like miso soup (come on, really?) or chicken karage. But I guess that's what happens when you're very, very focused. Ramen is definitely the draw here, boasting rich, complex broths and chewy, toothsome noodles. Oh, and did I mention lobster oil?

At RP you have your choice of three broths: miso, pork or soy. Each bowl comes standard with roast pork, diced onion, shrimp, a quail egg, mushrooms, lettuce and ground chicken, as well as a generous drizzle of lobster oil.

I choose the regular ramen with the soy sauce-flavored broth, which was a salty, savory and unctuous (without feeling heavy) delight. The noodles were flavorful and chewy, and the lobster oil added a subtle seafood-y luxuriousness (plus, it just sounds super fancy!)

There were a few specials that day, including a spicy tan men that included soft shell crab which MFM raved about, while others at our table added a variety of the extra toppings, which included corn, mushrooms, and spicy cod roe.

If I compare it to its siblings, I have to say I liked it more than RD (which was wasted on me since I couldn't handle the spicy, "stamina" style ramen) but slightly less than SR, which to me is a bit simpler and purer (plus they have that yummy stewed pork belly).

But I'd have to go back at least once or twice to be sure. At least.



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