We slipped into brand-new Ramen Doraku in the Outer Sunset the other day, slurping noodles and chowing on curry. Our bowl of tonkotsu ramen ($7.95) included fish cake (naruto), green onions (negi), sliced black fungus (kikurage), bamboo shoots (menma), bean sprouts, seaweed (nori), half of a seasoned soft boiled egg (hanjuku tamago, steeped in shoyu-mirin), house-made chasu, and an unusual topping of sliced red onions. The egg and succulent chasu were the highlights; fresh noodles of average quality and decent-tasting pork-bone soup merely satisfied our hunger. The lukewarm broth was neither fatty nor oily, but lacked the richness of proper tonkotsu ― disappointing to hard-core rameniacs, perhaps, but irrelevant to diners just seeking a bowl of noodle soup.
Add-ons: more ramen noodles ($1.50 more), a side of chasu ($3.95), and an extra egg ($1), the last two listed as appetizers. Although we yearned for options like buta kakuni, the lack of extra toppings probably means that prices can remain affordable.
Katsu curry donburi ($6.95) was beefy, but had nothing on Murracci's. Doraku's short menu (10 ramen, three curries) also lists a handful of well-made appetizers like gyoza ($3.95) and potato croquettes ($2.95). SFoodie spoke to chef Michael-san (no last name given), who explained that he's still fine-tuning, and that everything should be shipshape six months from now.
Doraku won't impress Santa Ramen fanatics (by the way, Santa uses hard-boiled eggs), but it's a comfortable space with reasonable prices, and fills a gap in the short list of city ramen shops.
Ramen Doraku: 1042 Taraval (at 20th Ave.), 592-8801. Lunch daily, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Dinner Sun.-Thu., 5-10 p.m.; Fri.-Sat., 5-11 p.m.