Fortunately, I don’t often come across terrible tasting ramen, but when I do, the taste remains until I have good ramen to replace the unpleasant experience. When we visited the Bay Area, two days after the unsatisfying eats at Octopus Japanese Restaurant in Long Beach, we went to San Jose’s Japantown for salvation.
We found said salvation in the form of Kumako Ramen, a small dining establishment along Jackson St. It was lunchtime when we deliberately found ourselves in Japantown and the eateries were all bustling. We decided to stop by Shuei-Do first before having our lunch. Next time, it’s going to be the other way around. More on that later.
After getting our manju at Shuei-Do, we walked the few yards to Kumako and saw people waiting. We asked the small party of four if they have to wait long and they said there were no seats available for them but they might have seating for two. So The Hubby and I checked and sure enough, we were seated right away.
There was only one server and two people at the open kitchen, hence three people total handling nearly twenty customers. For a small place, the staff are surely kept busy, and indeed they were hustling to keep up with the customers coming in and checking out.
Our server was nice and for someone having to deal with so many demands from everyone in the restaurant, I had to give her props for keeping her smile on. It didn’t take us long to figure out what we wanted. I chose the Vegetable & Tofu Ramen, which is one of the “specialty ramen” bowls, while The Hubby went for the classic Tonkatsu Shoyu Ramen.
Where do I start with how much I enjoyed my ramen… let’s say that if I was alone with that ramen, I’d have slurped it down in less than 5 minutes. Tops. Good clean broth with the right amount of saltiness, firm noodles, and generous amount of vegetables and tofu. It hit the spot of removing the sad taste of the awful ramen from Octopus Restaurant in Long Beach, CA. Was I content after my bowl of nom nom ramen? No! I wanted another bowl but The Hubby held me back.
The Hubby’s ramen was also wonderful with the crispy pork katsu and the rather tasty and velvety broth. The noodles were like mine… cooked just right.
We enjoyed our ramen so much that we got the attention of the staff and I ended up having a fun quick chat with the hostess/server. While many of the customers around us packed their leftovers, we completely finished ours. I believe I was caught ignoring the spoon and just drinking the broth straight from my bowl… honestly, it’s the only way to eat good ramen.
My family knows about my ramen mania, of course, and so when we visited my family on Christmas Day, Kat, my youngest sister told me that she had “really good” ramen in Japantown, I asked her where she had it. When she answered, “Kumako”, she validated my positive thoughts on the ramen bar.