On a random day when I happened to be working from home, Pdho and I decided to go grab some lunch in the Financial District. We had previously stumbled upon this ramen place but ended up not eating there because of the long wait. It attracts a lot of people working in the area so in actuality, most of the people waiting during lunch time are actually doing takeout. Needless to say, the place is still quite small with a handful of seats at a tiny bar and smattering of tables, but turnover is relatively quick.
You have your choice of the usual soy sauce, salt, and miso broths which you’re able to make spicy, should you desire. I think there are some other not so traditional offerings like habanero and vegetarian, but let’s be real… vegetarian ramen makes no sense. I would suggest sticking to what makes ramen ramen, but if you need a little more variety there are a number of toppings (like corn, kimchi, dumplings, etc) that you’re able to add on for an additional charge.
Pdho likes his ramen rich and hearty so he went with the spicy miso. This was a tad bit too strong for my liking, but it really wasn’t bad if you like your ramen to give your taste buds a little bump and kick.
I prefer my ramen broth clean and simple so I went with the shio ramen and decided to add some dumplings and pork belly. It still had a rich porkiness but the salt-base gave the ramen a cleaner flavor profile that allowed me to appreciate the simplicity of a bowl of noodles.
Noodles were firm with just a bit of springiness. The toppings were okay but the one thing that annoyed me was the use of spinach in my ramen. I actually ended up going another time and I think they used green lettuce. I imagine if kale wasn’t so expensive, they would consider adding it as well. These are outright faux pas in my book. If you’re going to add some ruffage you use cabbage, preferably napa.
Overall, the ramen was solid and a good option for the neighborhood. They supposedly have another location in Japantown, and I might be tempted to check that out to see if it is any different. For the Fi Di location, I do think it is probably trying to cater too much to the surrounding worker population by screwing around with how they do ramen, but at its heart, underneath it all, there is a very good bowl of Japanese noodles.
356 Kearny St.
San Francisco, CA 94108
PAFO Ratings for Ramen Underground:
Ambiance 2½ stars
Food 3½ stars
Overall rating 3½ stars