My first impression of Ajisen last year after it opened was pretty good. The next few follow-up visits convinced me that it is one of the better ramen-ya in the bay area. I tried the Paiku ((排骨; Pork Ribs) Ramen a couple of times on a recent visit. One of the few other ramen shops that had the pork ribs ramen was the now closed Do-Henkotsu.
The bowl came beautifully filled with ramen noodles and topped with scallions, , woodear mushroom, boiled egg, and several big pieces of paiku. The egg is sub-standard as it is not cooked to half-raw consistency.
The paiku pieces are cut in short chunks. The meat ribs are braised to tender perfection. In fact, even the soft cartilages are tender enough to eat. This is such a great improvement over the dry and tough kakuni stewed pork served at Santa. The only thing that is better was the original stewed pork served at Gen Ramen, ironically the ramen shop replaced by the current Ajisen.
The noodles are cooked well and can soak up the flavor of the rich broth very well. I rank the noodle similar to those served at Maru Ichi.
The pot stickers are pretty standard with nice thin skin and a veggie/pork filling that is not too dry.
The strength of Ajisen ramen really shows through after comparing it to several other places such as Kahoo, Santa, and even Ryowa. It is definitely holding its own and has bested most of the independent ramen shops in the bay area. One notch below Halu.
Ajisen Ramen (味千拉麵)
- Tue-Sun: Dinner only.
- Mon closed.