Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Orenchi--Santa Clara, CA

My gracious wife braved the heat today and drove down to have lunch with me in Santa Clara, where I work. She was in the mood for ramen and we met at Orenchi when it opened at 11:30. Taken by the hostess's sales pitch, I ordered the special, Ore-tsuke-men. Their menu said the restaurant is limited to serving to only the first twenty who order this new item. That the restaurant is truly restricted to a certain number of servings of the Ore-tsuke is questionable (more on that later). What's very easy to believe, however, is another claim the menu makes: that the broth takes 18 hours to make.

I was convinced of this after the first sip of my wife's soup, a part of the Orenchi Ramen. The broth was simply the most flavorful in memory. One is convinced that every bit of the savory flavor once in the chicken and pork diffused and condensed into the soup during that 3/4 day simmer. The boiled egg was notable for its soft, creamy yolk--they clearly have their soft-boil recipe down pat. The ramen was delightfully chewy and had my wife thinking about her lunch the rest of the afternoon. At nine dollars, the ramen was no steal, especially given the small size of the bowl. However, it will probably end up drawing us back.

The special I had was as awful a value as Jenny's ramen was extraordinary. I can't fathom why the scant quantity of cold ramen (as good as it was) and sauce could be twelve dollars or how the restaurant could be limited to twenty servings per day. On the latter, I can't help but believe it's a marketing trick targeted at naive first-timers (like yours truly). For the record, the sauce contained green onion, sesame seeds, bamboo and seaweed. It was also quite salty. In the photo below, topping the ramen is a sheet of seaweed and a small mound of fish powder. I left the restaurant hungry and needed a snack as soon as I got back to work.

Get here early--the word is obviously out on the chewy ramen and the to-die-for broth. Those getting in at 11:45 were relegated to the counter in the back and any who dared show up as late as noon had to wait outside.

3540 Homestead Rd.
Santa Clara, CA
(408) 246-2955