A Delicious Delicacy Hidden in a Run-down Restaurant
3540 Homestead Rd
Santa Clara, CA 95051
Good for: Lunch, Dinner
When my friends said that they were craving ramen, they really meant that they were craving Orenchi Ramen. This strange noodle house is just down Homestead from Santa Clara University. It’s located in a run-down strip mall with several empty stores, but don’t let the appearance of the place spook you; Orenchi’s ramen will well make up for it. The interior of the restaurant is little better than the empty storefronts around it; the walls are mud brown and are unfinished in some places. I wondered if that may have been intentional but if it was, then it was a poor decision. Hip-hop and rap drips from the sound system, which I thought was a strange choice of music for a noodle house. However, despite the restaurant’s aesthetically unappealing appearance, the food they serve there is unique and delicious.
Orenchi’s menu is short, with a page worth of appetizers, salads and rice dishes to compliment the three types of ramen that you can choose from. They offer Shio (which is similar to miso in taste), Shoyu and their signature Orenchi ramen, which is their interpretation of Tonkotsui ramen from Kyushu, Japan. My friends explained to me that the broth for this particular ramen is simmered for 18 hours before being served. This sort of preparation results in a superb soup containing curly rice noodles, pork, green onion, bamboo shoot, mushroom, sesame, nori seaweed and a boiled, seasoned egg. I was hesitant at first about the egg, but it turned out to be gooey, seasoned well and quite delicious. I also highly recommend trying the potato croquettes that can be found on the appetizer menu. The breaded exterior is crunchy and the interior is finger-licking good. I was incredibly impressed with the speed of service (we were served our food in under 10 minutes) and the staff was upbeat and friendly. Orenchi always seems to have a line that extends outside the door, but it moves quickly and the food is well-worth the wait.