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Monday, April 22, 2013

Small Touches Go Far at Waraku

Posted By on Mon, Apr 22, 2013 at 8:55 AM

click to enlarge Tonkotsu ramen at Waraku. - TAMARA PALMER
  • Tamara Palmer
  • Tonkotsu ramen at Waraku.

Last summer, Japanese restaurant Men Oh Tokushima Ramen opened its second American location on Geary Street in San Francisco, followed by a hot pot spot called Shabuway. Its new Japantown sister spot Waraku provides similar quality and value. Located in the former Bushi-Tei restaurant space (Bushi Tei Bistro is still open across the street in Japan Center), the interior has been made over into a slightly more casual and affordable spot.

See Also:Japanese Ramen Import Men Oh Opens Second U.S. Location in SF

Shabuway's Answer to Arnold Palmer: Half and Half Hot Pot

click to enlarge Garlic cloves and a garlic press are table helpers at Waraku. - TAMARA PALMER
  • Tamara Palmer
  • Garlic cloves and a garlic press are table helpers at Waraku.

The menu, like Men Oh's, is relatively spare, with the options of tonkotsu (pork bone) or shoyu (chicken bone with soy sauce) broths for ramen ($9-12), small pork rice bowls ($3.50-4.50), and tsukemen dipping noodles ($9). One item not found here is the tokushima ramen that is the namesake of the other restaurant, a bowl accompanied by a raw, pasteurized egg to crack into the soup.

Some might find the portion size of ramen slightly smaller than average at Waraku, but for us that meant no waste. But speaking of small, it's the small and thoughtful details, like the jar of fresh garlic gloves and a metal garlic press that are part of the setup at each table, go far to enhancing a simple and satisfying meal.

Waraku serves lunch and dinner on Tuesdays through Sundays; closed Mondays.

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Tamara Palmer


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