Through words of mouth (from a kid that comes to my office hour, to be precise), I learned that the ramen burger is here in Berkeley. Hah, you don’t have to be in LA or NY or SF to eat this (relatively) new craze(*). Mashable has a guide to make it yourself, but why go through the trouble when you can buy it?
Unlike all other hypes that turn out to be various degrees of meh (in no order, truffles, caviar, foie gras, Cheeseboard, M.Y. China, Fentons, et cetera), the ramen burger is delicious. I gorged it down, completely defeated. Farewell, my hype-bashing days.
So Oishi in Berkeley dishes out 3 types of ramen burgers ($9 each): pulled pork (with wasabi mayo), grilled chicken (with ginger miso sauce), and the usual beef patty (with teriyaki sauce). (You can ask them to swap the sauce.) We had enough sense to avoid the chicken burger (who wouldn’t?!), and were split between pork and beef. Both types contain sauteed mushroom and come with “Japanese fries” (katsuobushi and Japanese mayo). Both sides finished with complete satisfaction.
They give you fork and knife, too, because unless you’re very skilled (or just take mousy bites), the burger will fall apart sooner or later and you get a sort of yakisoba with meat. Still delicious, just harder to eat by hand.
A personal plus: So Oishi sprouted from the same spot that used to house my old favorite (albeit barely average) Berkel Berkel.
A not-so-personal minus: they claim to be “the very first authentic Japanese ramen soup, ramen bun burger and sushi burrito restaurant… in Berkeley, CA”. Well if you want to be authentic, make sure you can spell. “Oishii” (おいしい、which means “delicious”) has two i’s, not one.
Good fries, though!
Address: So Oishi
2428 Telegraph Ave (next to Thai Noodle 2 and across the street from Rasputin Music)
Foodnote: (*) Keizo Shimamoto first invented it in NY late July – it’s been that long already?!