Merry Christmas, San Francisco: here's some tasty ramen. Inside Scoop has uncovered the arrival of the first NorCal location of Ramen Yamadaya, a SoCal-based ramen chain, to the shores of San Francisco—with an opening planned for this Saturday in the former Iroha space in Japantown. The chain specializes in a tonkotsu broth that's simmered for 20 hours and earned a place on the top 10 list of no less a food luminary than Jonathan Gold, who dubbed it "overwhelmed by a massive slab of long-simmered pork belly that would be thick enough to stop bullets, if it weren't also soft enough to spoon up like ice cream." It's also on Eater LA's list of the best ramen shops in the City of Angels, with Eater's Matthew Kang praising "a thick, umami-rich tonkotsu broth and thin noodles...the tsukemen broth has a fishy intensity that adds another layer of umami, while the thicker noodles make slurping easier."
High-profile ramen shops are becoming increasingly common in the Bay Area, with Ramen Shop about to mark its first year in business, Ramen Izakaya Goku marking five months on 16th Street, and Santa Clara's lauded Orenchi planning to make its Mission debut in 2014. It'll be interesting to see how Ramen Yamadaya stacks up, especially since Kang writes that "Yamadaya has opened numerous locations in the past year, [but] the quality has dropped off as the spots have expanded." For now, here's a menu for perusal.