Yonsei Ramen Shop is the savory after-hours shadow of Hopscotch in Uptown Oakland. Chef Kyle Itani (Yoshi’s, SF/Oakland, The Meatball Shop, NYC) started Yonsei last November with the idea of catching the Art Stroll run-off on the first Fridays of each month. It was such a hit, he just kept doing it. Now, it’s every Friday, Art Murmur or not, from 11pm to 2am.
There’s always one meat and one vegetarian ramen on the menu, both for $9 and that includes a full range of toppings (you can add chashu, or an extra Jidori egg, which we highly recommend). Itani keeps prices low because the late-night ingredients in your ramen bowl are the extras ("leftovers" is such a bad word) from his Hopscotch lunch and dinner menus that would otherwise go to waste. For instance, a few weeks ago, Itani butchered a 253-lb pig and served most of that pork during Hopscotch hours, but he kept the heap of bones, head, and meaty scraps for a rich ramen base at Yonsei that night. You get the idea.
We still daydream about the Shoyu ramen. It’s downright delicious -- shimeji mushroom, chashu pork belly, fish cake, green onion, a Jidori egg, and bamboo shoots, sometimes with bean sprouts and nori.
So for tonight, as soon as the last dinner diners are making their way out of Hopscotch as it closes at 11pm, wait for the red Yonsei Ramen sign to come out, signaling the change to the late-night ramen menu, and write your name on the waiting list. There will be a line, yes, but there will also be a full bar. Lucky you.