Quality always comes with a crowd
You don't need to be a marketing professor to know that when diners see "Chez Panisse alumni" and "ramen" together in news of Ramen Shop's opening, hour-long waits result.
Yes, owners Sam White, Rayneil De Guzman and Jerry Jaksich have all cooked or served at Alice's restaurant. The trio have done due diligence with respect to ingredients, too, importing a noodle-rolling machine from Japan and pork shoulder from Llano Seco Ranch for their chashu.
Thankfully, their cooking stands on its own merits.
Though the ramen broth and toppings change every day, most memorable has been a bowl of shoyu ramen ($15) brightened with Meyer lemon zest, a tuft of curly mizuna leaves floating alongside a spiral of spit-roasted pork and a soft-boiled egg.
The constants--the house-made noodles--are uniformly excellent, stiff on the first bite and still chewy by the last.
Ramen aside, the dish we'd wait in line for again was a bowl of fried rice ($11) with cubes of fatty pork, pink shrimp and flat-leaf parsley. That sounds straightforward until we add that, on the night we ordered it, the rice was stir-fried with two ingredients that add maximum flavor: lard and house-made shrimp paste.
Ramen Shop, 5812 College Ave. (at Birch Ct.), Oakland; 510-788-6370 or ramenshop.com