Another new restaurant has opened in Castro Valley. If you want to try a quick and delicious Japanese meal, stop by Ramen 101, located in the Lucky’s shopping plaza. My family and I taste tested the new food.
Unlike many other Japanese restaurants that serve ramen, this restaurant has a menu that lets you build your own ramen bowl, and offers a good amount of appetizers and several rice dishes. We decided to sample a few appetizers and ordered chicken karaage, agedashi tofu, and takoyaki. For our ramen bowls, we ordered miso ramen with the chicken and black garlic topping option, miso ramen with chicken and a classic topping (both mild) and tonkotsu ramen with black garlic toppings at the medium spiciness level. For drinks, we tried an iced matcha green tea and an orange flavored Ramune drink.
Within a few minutes of placing our order at the counter and finding a place to sit, the steaming hot food arrived. The modernly decorated restaurant was on the small side, but was very busy for 7:30 p.m., with families, couples, and groups of friends filling up all the tables.
The takoyaki was delicious and the chicken and tofu appetizers were crunchy and flavorful, topped with generous amounts of bonito flakes and served with the perfect dipping sauces. All appetizers seemed to be freshly made and were served piping hot. The bowls of ramen came quickly and were a good size. The ramen noodles had the right thickness and consistency, the broths were very flavorful and the grilled chicken topping was perfectly seasoned and delicious. Despite being soaked in broth, the meat was not soggy. The drinks were tasty, but be warned that the Ramune drink tends to be very sweet.
Pricing for our appetizers and ramen bowls was reasonable, with appetizers in the $4 to $8 range and ramen bowls at $11, with optional toppings ranging from $1 to $3. Drinks were in the $2 to $4 range, and we felt that we received good value for the price. We ordered too many appetizers, but had yummy leftovers to take home for the next day.
If you are looking for a chance to build your own tasty and reasonably priced ramen bowl and sample a variety of Japanese appetizers, Ramen 101 is the place for you. Not only will you be greeted warmly by the staff, you’ll enjoy a freshly prepared meal served piping hot that is sure to make upcoming winter days nice and warm.