Jiro style ramen

Hello friends! Popping in briefly from my usual lurker status to recommend a ramen shop I recently enjoyed:

Has anyone seen this style elsewhere in the Bay Area?

Most of the other copycat versions I’ve seen online—like this one—don’t quite look right.


Uh, well I’m no expert, but I’ve eaten my share of ramen in Japan since the early 90’s so I consider myself an enthusiast.
Ramen Taka’s specialty is Hakata style ramen, which effectively means a tonkotsu broth. Jiro style is based on a shoyu broth. The Jiro Tonkotsu Ramen that Taka offers seems to be a fusion of these 2 styles.
I haven’t tried it to date, but perhaps I will though that’s a lot of food for me. The target audience for that dish is poor and ravenous college students, which I’m not. I’m not big on nomihodai (all-you-can-drink) or tabehodai (all-you-can-eat) places in general, but I did have a surprisingly decent meal at a tabehodai place last time I went to Tokyo.

I don’t know of any other places that offer the Jiro style in San Jose, but I don’t get out much at present.

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I used to like their ramen quite a bit before the pandemic, and it was consistently crowded. The ramen was not quite Bay Area top tier but always solid. The past year I popped in. It was quite empty. We got three bowls of different styles, although i don’t think we got the Jiro style. All of them seemed to be off. Jiro or not. They should probably focus on fixing their core offerings versus trying to tackle Jiro style.

They are right next to Santa Clara University, though at $18 its not a small amount of money for a frugal Norcal college student.

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Haven’t been since the pandemic started so it’s interesting to know they may have slipped a bit. Thanks for the update.

Where do you get your ramen, and more generally, Japanese fix? How do those compared to the restaurants in Japan?

Good question.
As you may already know, like hamburgers in the U.S., ramen is fast food in Japan and exists on a sliding scale from poor (instant, convenience store, vending machine, etc.) up to quite polished and amazing.
But on average, a ¥660 ($4.67) bowl in Japan is as good or better than an $18 bowl in the U.S.
e.g. Kokoro Ramen in Milpitas — $17 for a bowl of blandness. SMH.
I went to Japan a month later and in a gyoza place in Utsunomiya, the side dish of ramen that accompanied the main dish of gyoza there was immeasurably better than the disappointment still fresh in my memory. You couldn’t even say they were the same food; they just had a similar appearance.

Getting good sushi is another example. I rarely eat sushi in this country because the supply chain and (comparatively) limited knowledge of how to handle fish make it minefield. In Japan, it takes about 10 years to make if from back of house to providing counter service directly to customers. Here one can take a 4-week course and BOOM! sushi CHEF. Convenience store sushi or sashimi in Japan is better than many dedicated restaurants in California, and California is probably tops in sushi in this country.
(BTW, “sashimi grade” is meaningless in terms of quality; it just means the seller thinks it’s good enough for that purpose, no Federal quality standards exist)

Getting a Japanese fix is tough because most things just taste different and chefs move around so a place that was “great” becomes maybe “acceptable” and then maybe not worth it. If you find a good chef, follow them from place to place.

Reading what I’ve typed above makes me realize I sound like a food snob. The thing is, everything I’ve said is true; ask any Japanese person.

The best bet is to go where Japanese folks go; not Asians in general, but Japanese. There are a lot of “Japanese” places owned by non-Japanese and the taste of the food tends to reflect the tastes they are familiar with — which is fine — but to use an analogy: I prefer my Italian food to taste Italian and not Irish.

For ramen, lately I’ve been going to Hajime. The menu is not extensive but what they do, they focus on doing well. Kahoo is quite good as well.



Not only is the ramen here in the States expensive, I found it also somewhat ludicrous that one has to line up for an hour and pay $20 for the decent ones. It is fast food, after all.

I haven’t had good ramen for a few years now, since I refuse to wait. I will give Hajime and Kahoo a try next time I am around.

Sushis and sashimis in random restaurants scare me. It is just difficult to imagine anyone handling the fish properly.

Sounds like you and I are cut from similar cloth as I agree with everything you wrote.

I’m heading to Japan in September, so I will be able to scratch the itch properly. Besides the typical places, I’m hitting up a 自動販売機 (vending machine) park that has over 100 vintage machines and am looking forward to getting kitsune udon from a machine. I’m betting that it will be just as satisfying (if not more) than Udon Miguzo in San Jose, which fits the popular and (IMO) overpriced model.