The Renaissance Center in San Rafael is the temporary home of Uchiwa Ramen, which is expected to open in its own space on B Street in San Rafael in August 2014. The co-owners, San Rafael’s Kevin Fong and Corte Madera’s Benson “Ben” Yang have been honing their recipes for authentic Japanese ramen at the center and gaining loyal followers for several months. Currently open on Mondays and Tuesdays for lunch (11 a.m. - 2 p.m.) and dinner (5:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.) at the Renaissance Center at 1115 3rd St. in San Rafael.
Above Ben Yang takes an order from customers (photo credit: Anna Haight)
Kevin and Ben love noodles, and also aim to provide a welcoming atmosphere much like you were visiting their home kitchen for a friendly meal. Currently Uchiwa Ramen offers Tonkatsu Ramen ($8.88), Shoyu Ramen ($8.88), Miso Ramen ($9.88), Shio Ramen ($8.88) and Vegetarian Ramen ($8.88) with an option for extras such as Roasted Black Garlic Seasoning ($.88) or Spicy Roasted Chili Seasoning (mild, spicy or extra spicy ($.88). A surprise was how many customers enjoy a bit of spice in their ramen. In addition, there is a changing menu of ramen-friendly sides such as Spam musubi, chicken lollipops, and gyoza. The broths are made from scratch and toppings are mostly locally sourced.
I had difficulty choosing my first taste of Uchiwa ramen. Having lived in Japan, I'm particularly fond of ramen, and have brought home a number of books on ramen (in Japanese with LOTS of photos) over the years. I finally settled on a classic, Shoyu Ramen which consisted of a savory soy sauce broth, chashu (pork slice), soft boiled egg, fish cake and some veggies like moyashi (mung bean sprouts), mushroom, bok choy, sliced bamboo shoots, and green onion.
The broth was rich without being oily, and wasn't over salty. I was also impressed with the perfection of the soft boiled eggs, a traditional addition for Japanese ramen. Will I go back? Yes, this is a repeat-worthy experience, and I plan to sample the entire menu. I already have some lunch dates booked to introduce friends to the first ramen shop in Marin.
821 B Street
San Rafael, CA 94901
Get directions and explore on Anna's Map.