Ramen Izakaya Goku

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San Francisco's choices of ramen spots are medicore at best.  For any decent bowl of ramen I usually have to head out to the South Bay or to the Peninsula, but Ramen Izakaya Goku has to be one of the better bowls of ramen I've had in the city so far.  Fun fact:  Goku supposed means "hella"in Japanese, which seems to be quite fitting since we are in the Bay Area.  While it also calls itself an izakaya, it is far from that.  It does offer a couple small plates and appetizers on the menu, but I'd categorize this more of a ramen spot than an izakaya.

A bowl of seasoned crispy noodles are given when sitting down for munching while you wait.  It reminds me of eating ramen straight out of the package when I was a kid.

The bbq kobe beef ribs seem to be popular here, but while the meat is very tender some parts of the meat are a bit too chewy and hard to eat.  Also, the sauce is a little too salty for my taste.

The wasabi fries are pretty much exactly what they sound like.  The fries are similar to McDonald's fries, but more crispy and sprinkled with wasabi powder.  It doesn't have the surprising punch that normal wasabi has, but it does have a nice kick.

The ramen comes with a choice of spicy option: cool, mild, medium, extra spicy, and goku (hella) spicy.  The chasu tonkotsu ramen comes with the largest slice of chasu I have ever seen in ramen.  It reminds of a thick piece of steak.  Each bowl comes with a boiled egg, bean sprouts, Kikurage mushrooms, bamboo shoots, and green onions.  The noodles are a little thicker than normal ramen noodles and a little on the mushy end.  I prefer my noodles a little more chewy and al dente.  The broth, however, is quite delicious.  Rich, fatty, salty, and everything you expect in good ramen, except without the MSG. 

The kakuni tonkotsu ramen mimics the same hearty, fatty, broth that the tonkotsu has.  Glorious globs of fat float around this delicious bowl.  The piece of Kakuni braised pork is tender and juicy, but unusually large.  Still the biggest gripe is the soft noodles, but hopefully next time I can just ask for firmer noodles.

Address:                      Ramen Izakaya Goku
                                     3232 16th St.
                                     San Francisco, CA
Type:                            Japanese/ramen

Popular chomps:          kakuni ramen
                                      tonkotsu ramen
                                      wasabi fries
                                      octopus balls
                                      fried burdock
                                      clam ramen
                                      bbq kobe beef

Chomp worthy:             kakuni ramen
                                      tonkotsu ramen   

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