Asian, BiteClub, Japanese, Santa Rosa, Where to Eat Now

Miso Good Ramen is Downtown Santa Rosa’s Ramen Stop

This new Santa Rosa spot features a hard-to-find veggie ramen that rocks.

If you want to know what chefs eat on their days off, it’s usually one of two things: Tacos or ramen. Not Top Ramen, natch, but serious Japanese ramen made with real miso, 6-minute eggs, char siu pork belly and, most importantly, good noodles. Otherwise, you might was well eat Top Ramen, or better yet, a taco. And, chefs will tell you that salty, fatty, umami bowls taking the food scene by storm are an ultimate comfort/hangover food that even when they’re not great, are still pretty good.

Miso Good Ramen, which opened recently in downtown Santa Rosa, is exactly that. Really good, exceedingly slurp-able, ramen bowls we’ve tried on several occasions — and continue to crave. Of course, a serious discussion of the many styles, virtues and classifications of ramen (it’s sort of like regional barbecue in that everyone has an opinion) is outside the scope of this column, but here’s what we can tell you…

Best bets: Surprise, it’s the Miso Butter Veggie ($12)! Though we’re pork lovers through and through, the veggie-centric ramen made with fermented soybean broth and piled with okra, corn, sprouts, mushrooms, and garlic seaweed, gets a bit o’ butter making it over the top delish.

We also loved the Hamachi Carpaccio ($15), with slices of Japanese yellowtail, tart ponzu sauce and a hint of truffle oil — enough to balance the dish, not punch it in the face.

The Tokyo Shoyu Chasu Pork ($12) ramen has great pieces of soy-braised pork in pork broth, a far more flavorful broth than chicken could ever hope to be. Six minute egg was custardy and just soft enough—just like a six-minute egg should be.

In addition to ramen, Miso Good offers poke bowls with tuna, salmon or octopus ($13), the first downtown spot with this Hawaiian staple.

Service has been shaky while the kitchen and waitstaff figure out the kinks, but is improving. Which is a good thing, because we’re still craving that butter ramen.

507 4th St, Santa Rosa, 545-7545. Open Tuesday through Sunday from 11a.m. through dinner. Closed Tuesday.

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16 thoughts on “Miso Good Ramen is Downtown Santa Rosa’s Ramen Stop

  1. Visited Miso Good Ramen yesterday for lunch. Bad idea all around. From walking in the back door near the trash cans, seeing the trash, smelling the trash, and just having a bad “welcome” experience at the door to the bad food, I will not return. Yes, this is a harsh review, but it is all true and necessary for restaurants to really understand that providing good food is the most important part of running a restaurant.. We arrived at 11:45 a.m. for lunch, The room had one person at the counter and people at three of the other tables -not very busy – and we still had to ask to place our order of one Tokyo Shoyu Chasu Pork ($12) and one tuna poke bowl. We asked if they could serve rice noodles instead of ramen/wheat noodles. The server told us they had nothing gluten free. Fair warning – absolutely nothing gluten free!

    The ramen noodles were pre-packaged and tasteless. The pork in the bowl seemed to be a braised pork shoulder/butt, but it did not taste soy braised, nor did the color indicate it had been prepared in that traditional manner. The broth lacked depth of flavor, as if they seemed to have used a bullion cube for the broth. The vegetables were few – a few small pieces of cabbage. The tuna poke also was lacking any deliciousness or anything interesting, except for the red wasabi on top.

    The kitchen uses a timer to cook its noodles. We were constantly hearing the timer going off; it seemed the chef just let it ring and ring – found it annoying when trying to eat lunch.

    It is not that difficult to have GF options – offer rice noodles, use Tamari instead of soy, etc. But to not have any is a miss. The biggest miss, though, is the lack of interesting food.

    We frequent Ramen Gaijin in Sebastopol probably once a week. The fresh ramen noodles and the offering of GF options, including rice noodles, the fresh soy braised pork belly, the efficient and friendly serving staff, and the killer interesting menu at Ramen Gaijin wins – hands-down.

    I will not return to Miso Good Ramen.

    1. Amazing how Ramen Gaijin and Miso Good Ramen both have 4 stars on Yelp. I think people just have no clue what constitutes not-so-good ramen. I take comfort in knowing downtown restaurants are truly the survival of the fittest. Time will be the best indicator for this one if they don’t get their act together.

    2. I read your review, but just “had to” see for myself, mostly because biteclub is my favorite blog(ger).

      Unfortunately, you were right. And it’s not just the fact that one “noodle house” in Sebastopol is better, but that most noodles in Sonoma County are better.

      If charging only $1 less than Gaijin, please make your own noodles and serve them with broth that means something.

  2. just went and had the pork kimchi rice bowl and it was DELICIOUS! there was a generous amount of pork that just fell apart, tasty kimchi, a smattering of green veggies (bok choy and scallions i believe) and a square fried fishy cake thing that was delicious. my dining companion had the pork ramen and really enjoyed it. service was curt but efficient. give this place a shot!

    1. Fortunately I saw on the menu that “not all ingredients are listed”. I asked if the veggie ramen was vegetarian and was told yes, except for the pork broth. Um, the correct answer is no.

  3. can’t wait to try it! particularly because i work downtown, always great to have more options!

    as a side note, it seems unfair to compare it to ramen gaijin. it’s inevitable, since those are the only two ramen-focused restaurants in the county, but it’s unfortunate. as alluded to in the article, there are myriad styles of ramen–there’s not one way to make it. and gaijin is truly exceptional, top quality and above and beyond, hyperlocal ingredients and impeccable plating. i LOVE me some gaijan, but not everything needs to be transformational and perfect and elevated. i think sonoma county has room for two ramen places. most people can appreciate both the high concept and the down home.

    1. Arielle, the problem is that Miso Good Ramen is nearly as expensive as Ramen Gaijin. I don’t think they’re necessarily transformational or elevated, just high quality. That’s what downtown needs: quality food. Restaurant owners need to understand that investing in quality pays dividends for the outcome of their restaurant. They’re never going to be a $10 lunch spot, so they should not aspire to such. I’d rather pay $15-16 for a truly fantastic bowl of ramen than $12-13 for a subpar one.

      I’ve spent over a year of my life in Asia and know there are different styles of ramen. They’re not hitting the spot at Miso Good. I’ll need to go back once and try their poké bowls to see if they’re any good.

  4. Their ramen flat out sucks compared to Ramen Gaijin in Sebastopol. Best to only eat at Miso Good Ramen if you never have been to Gaijin or never plan to visit.

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