Back in October, we were in Sonoma for a wedding and even though it was a brief trip, with very little free time, we managed to get ramen at Ramen Underground - barely...
Here is our rating out of 5:
We didn't have any significant amount of time in San Francisco; so, with a 2pm flight and an hour and a half drive from Sonoma, we got ramen for breakfast on the way to the airport at 10:30 in the morning! Yes we love ramen that much! We ended up choosing Ramen Underground because they open earlier than most other Ramen shops in SF. They also had good reviews and were somewhat conveniently located along our drive to the airport. Plus, they have a badass name, and here at Ramen Is Life we are obviously the baddest of asses! So with our hardened ramen slurping we headed to the underground... We arrived 10 minutes before they opened and were those annoying people staring at the employees getting ready until they opened.
Their Shoyu is a chicken broth and is served with chicken, spinach mushrooms, and scallions. I also decided to add chashu because I've never been a big fan of chicken in my ramen and I wanted to try theirs. I also added nitamago because egg in ramen... The broth had just the right amount of spice and was incredibly light. Almost too light, I'm confident that if I had ordered the regular Shoyu it would have been too bland. The noodles without a question were the best part of the bowl! I LOVED these noodles, and I have to say that they are the BEST RAMEN NOODLES that I've eaten!!!! They had a perfect texture and the taste was incredible! This was the first time I'd seen a bowl of ramen with spinach, and it was a really good combination. The nitamago was a whole egg that was not cut in half like most places do; it was nicely seasoned, but the egg was medium boiled not soft boiled, which was disappointing. The chashu was also disappointing. It was too thin for my taste and was a bit dry. The chicken however, was exceptional! There were large pieces of chicken that were incredibly juicy and flavorful. The chicken definitely stole the topping show, and changed my opinion of chicken in ramen.
Their tonkotsu is also very light and is less rich than some. It had a nice flavor, but lacked a complexity that I've come to expect from tonkotsu. It was very one dimensional, and had a somewhat watery finish. The noodles were the same amazing noodles I mentioned above! The toppings were spinach, mushrooms, scallions, Chashu and Kakuni (braised pork belly). We also added nitamago to this bowl. The kakuni was huge! It was a 2 inch cube of meat and fat. I tend to prefer my meat lean, and the cube had a considerable amount of fat, but there was also a considerable amount of meat, so it balanced out. It was, on all accounts, better than the chashu. It was moist, flavorful, and rich thanks to the high fat content. I still prefer a well cooked chashu, but the pork belly was very good.
With a name like Ramen Underground we expected the bowls to be a tad more extreme and inventive in some fashion. The closest they got was the 2 inch cube of pork belly. Overall, with the exception of their chicken, their broth and toppings could use a little work, and an injection of creativity to match their name. Having only had one bowl of ramen in SF I imagine there is better ramen in the city. That said, we enjoyed the bowls and would definitely go back. The noodles are even worth a special trip in my opinion!
Ramen Underground Address:
356 Kearny St, San Francisco, CA 94108
grew up as a nomad, and currently calls New York home. When he's not slurping noodles he's editing stuff for TV. He's a quarter Japanese and has been using chopsticks since he can remember. His go to ramen order: Spicy shoyu with wavy noodles.