Sunday, November 29

Myzen Ramen - Sunnyvale

My fellow food reviewer at Metro News has once touted Myzen Ramen as a place where long lines aren't required for tasty ramen ( That's a rare find in the South Bay where our options are scant. Front runners include Orenchi RamenKotetsu Ramen, and Santouka Ramen at the food court in Mitsuwa. I have eaten a lot of ramen in my time as a food blogger. 

Imagine my delight when Myzen Ramen invited me to try their fare for myself. Let's see how they stack up to the other ramen shops?

*This meal was complimentary to me in exchange for this review. The portions are tasting size except for ramen and agedashi tofu which are regular size.*

Myzen does much with its small space. The wood paneled walls bring an authentic feel to the decor. The waiting area is separated by a single wooden panel that shields diners from the outside hustle bustle. The tables are arrange so as to make the best use of the space and there was plenty of room to maneuver around the restaurant.

($3.99) Cold Spinach - sample size
The cold marinated spinach appetizer was a great snack to start. It also goes well if you put it into the ramen.

($4.99) Soy Sauce Daikon - sample size
Even though this appetizer sounds simple, we were really impressed with the flavor of this house made snack. The light soy sauce on the soft daikon slices made an umami filled taste and texture combo. I definitely recommend noshing on these. 

($6.99) Takoyaki with octopus inside
The flavor of the dough and seasoning of the filling was very tasty. However it was a bit wet and doughy.

($4.99) Agedashi tofu 
The agedashi tofu was standard. I prefer a crispier coating and larger flakes of bonito on top.

($5.99) Chicken Karaage
The chicken had a nice crunch to it. More of a flakey KFC skin than the usual clumpy karaage coating. It comes with a tangy dipping sauce which was interesting but not my style. The karaage was very flavorful on its own. I would recommend this dish too.

I had a quick chat with the owner of Myzen to find out his inspiration for building the restaurant's menu. He was going for some traditional dishes and some modern takes on the classics. The dipping sauce for the karaage is apparently a traditional version. So are the cold pickled items which we loved. Two non-traditional dishes are the Wasabi Shrimp and Curry Ramen which he says is a big hit with Westerners.

($7.99) Wasabi Shrimp
These shrimp were similar to the Chinese walnut prawns except the coating of mayonaise had a subtle wasabi flavor. It reminded me of Morimoto Napa's wasabi aioli shrimp. I don't mind wasabi at all so I thought these shrimp were really good. It is just a tad stronger in wasabi flavor than expected though. A very interesting dish that is definitely worth a try.

($12.95) Curry Ramen
The curry ramen does very well with the Sunnyvale demographic. There is a high population of Indian people here who would really appreciate this flavor. The curry flavor is really mild and not spicy. I could even taste the curry flavor and tonkotsu base separately. Also an interesting take on ramen that's worth a taste.

($10.95) Myzen Ramen - the traditional tonkotsu broth
The tonkotsu broth ramen is an important test of a ramen shop's legitimacy. This is the classic pork broth that a good shop must master. Myzen did very well with theirs. The broth was creamy colored though it tasted very light. The restaurant prides itself on using no chemicals and no MSG which seemed to show in the lightness of their broth. It was still very flavorful though. The noodles were springy. The chashu was very tender. The soft boiled egg had a yolk with more of a gel consistency and not as runny as I wanted. I really liked how the extra bamboo shoots, cloud ear mushrooms, and green onions came in separate plates. You could share the extras with the rest of your table as there is plenty to go around. I preferred if the garlic was a standard condiment at the table rather than an extra that needs to be ordered but this is a minor thing. I am also not a fan of corn in ramen but that's just me. It certainly doesn't detract from the already stellar broth. 

Overall, the Myzen Ramen is one of the best bowls I've had in the South Bay. It wins with it's light tasting flavor and texture. Everything else we had was also good, particularly the cold vegetables. There are a number of katsu rice bowls for those who don't want ramen. Draft beers are also imported. Must note that there is no line (yet). I would gladly be back. 

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