ATMOSPHERE: Going to Japan in Nov and am seriously "so excited... I just can't hide it" so I'm spending my time waiting for real ramen by eating at the many ramen houses in the South Bay. D*mn, we're lucky we live in the Bay Area.
I wonder if Ryowa is close to what a real ramen house in Japan looks like. Small, cramped/cozy, with book shelves filled with manga. There wasn't much standing room. You get in, write your name on a lil' notepad, and try not to situate your butt too close to a couple happily slurping up their noodles because well, that's just plain rude. Service didn't talk very much, but they were friendly and speedy. Took our orders while we waited = steaming bowl of noodles served almost as you sit down = awesome.
FOOD: I ALMOST ordered the Butter Corn because I heard that's the winner here, but when I saw the words "stewed pork" I just had to get the Butabara Ramen. Because this was our first visit, the bf ordered the bowl that bared the restaurant's name - the Ryowa Ramen.
I almost loved the Butabara as much as the Tonkatsu at Maruichi - except it was a touch too salty. The broth was very tasty - almost tangy/spicy. The noodles were excellent, chewy, fresh, and whoa! Stewed pork overload! That is in no way a bad thing. The pork was very tender and definitely melts in your mouth. Unfortuantely, the Butabara only came with stewed pork and bok choy. I was very disappointed that there was no egg or bean sprouts. Maruichi puts more stuff in the bowl. BUT you do get a way cooler spoon to eat with at Ryowa. That giant spoon made me giggle. It was like eating with a baby ladle.
The Ryowa Ramen was a sesame based broth and it was indeed very sesame-y. The Ryowa came with sliced pork, bean sprouts, sea weed, and half an egg. No mushrooms = sad face. Butabara was the winner of the night.
IN A MOUTHFUL: I was very happy that we finally tried Ryowa and will definitely return. The ramen was solid and we may just try the fried rice or chicken next time - they looked great! And one last hurrah for the spoon!