As a child I ate ramen all the time with my mom at Japantown’s Tanpopo. The last few years though ramen was been the biggest “trend” and foodies are lining up to try Mensho Tokyo in San Francisco.
Mensho Tokyo’s original location is in Tokyo, Japan and opened their doors in San Francisco back in February. This ramen shop only holds about 30 seats and takes no reservations. So being the food fanatic that I am, I arrived at Mensho Tokyo at 4:30pm (30 minutes before opening) and there were already people lined up. At 5pm they let the first 30 people in and started to take orders. The menu consists of four different ramens (tori paitan, shoyu, shio, and vegan). They also have different soba (buckwheat noodles) dishes and tsukemen (noodles are served separate from the broth).
The shoyu ramen is a traditional ramen with clear broth. The broth itself was flavorful and the noodles had a nice chew. The tori paitan ramen was quite different because it had a creamy chicken broth which gave the dish a richer feel than the shoyu ramen. Both ramens were topped with pork chashu (fatty and delicious), duck chashu (amazing flavor and supple texture), kale, and menma (bamboo shoots, my favorite). The ramens were both bomb and definitely satisfied my noodle soup cravings.
The biggest issue at Mensho Tokyo was the wait! We were seated at 5pm after waiting 30 minutes before opening and waited an hour before we got our ramen. I understand there were only two cooks in the kitchen but waiting an hour after we had already waited 30 minutes in line is slightly ridiculous especially since in Japan ramen is considered a fast food. So is waiting for hours really worth it for this ramen? It’s hard to say. I’m happy I tried Mensho Tokyo but not sure if I’m willing to wait that long again. Therefore my rating is a 7/10.
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