Shin-Sen-Gumi (Fountain Valley)
My cousins and I were trying to find a place to eat in Fountain Valley and we decided to get ramen at Shin-Sen-Gumi. I have tried their special event edition ramen at the Ramen Yokocho Festival in Los Angeles but had never been to one of their restaurants. I was pretty excited as their ramen was one of my favorites that day!
We arrived at the restaurant late into the afternoon and found other groups ahead of us. The restaurant was going to close in half an hour so we were a little worried that we would not have enough time. I was stoked when the waiter called our group from the waiting list but was then disheartened when he said he couldn't seat us because all of party members were not present. Doh!
By the time our last family member showed up we only had about twenty minutes left. Luckily we'd been eyeing the menu while waiting outside so we pretty much knew what we wanted to order.
I decided to get the T-set which was Hakata Ramen and Deep Fried Takoyaki which sold for only $8.50! My goodness. Why can't we get prices like this in San Diego?!
The interesting thing about this place is the way you order your ramen. Similar to how most restaurants have a selection sheet for sushi, this place had one designed for ramen. You would first write down which combination you would like to get. I got the T-set for example. Then you would choose the firmness of the noodles, amount of oil, strength of the broth, extra toppings, and if you want any special toppings like kimchi, garlic miso butter, or seaweed to name a few.
By the time we had placed our order, most of the other customers were already finishing up and leaving. So our food came out pretty fast. Each of us ordered one of the combination sets which was a ramen bowl plus one appetizer.
The first appetizer was the gyoza. These were super tiny but pretty meaty and flavorful. You can't really tell from the picture but these were probably around an inch and a half in length.
Next was the spam musubi which was average tasting for me. They came in a pretty good size.
Then there was the small beef bowl with rice. I didn't get to taste this one but I heard it was okay.
And the last appetizer was the takoyaki balls which were soft, but not gooey, and oh-so tasty.
As for the ramen I was quite satisfied. I ordered regular level in each category with exception of extra chashu which totaled about eight pieces of meat. Pretty good size bowl too. I originally was debating if I should order a large size bowl but my waiter told me that I can order extra noodles during my meal if I wanted to. They would just bring another smaller bowl of noodles out for me which was about a dollar add-on.
When we finished our meal it was about five minutes past closing. So we were inside for only about 25 minutes or so? That's probably the fastest meal I've ever had eating at a ramen restaurant. I'd definitely come back here.
We didn't post in time but apparently there was an Extra Noodle Challenge that went down on Thanksgiving Day at a few of their locations. You pay an entry fee of $10 and get to eat as much ramen as you possibly can! Oh man. I'd probably just stop after two bowls and call it quits. But it sounded like a good deal if you want an all you can eat ramen for cheap. And the winner would get a giftcard for even more. I wonder who those lucky people were! =)
Shin-Sen-Gumi (Fountain Valley)
18315 Brookhurst St. #1
Fountain Valley CA 92708