For those in the Bay who don't know Murphy Street in Sunnyvale, it's a nice place to wander, window shop, people watch, and spend a while without spending a lot. For those that are hungry, there are restaurants aplenty, but it seems like there's always something you haven't tried but aren't quite prepared to risk a meal on. Ramen Seas, at 173 Murphy, is a safe and satisfying stop, so have no fear.
First, the basics: it's a ramen joint, so the menu is brief. If you want a look, their online presence is http://ramenseas.com/ . The website is simply laid out, and gets a curious diner the necessary information (address, menu, hours) without preamble or distracting web theatrics. They're also an easy find on Yelp if that suits your search better.
It's a small place, which is no surprise- maybe thirty seats, counting the bar. I find it cozy and comfortable, in what I'd call a genuinely contrived authentic atmosphere. That is to say, great for a westerner, and close enough for anyone picky. The menu's written on the wall if you can read Japanese, and there's often a special displayed on a table right when you walk in the door. Take the time to examine it, because it's usually quite tasty! If not overly crowded, you'll most likely be greeted cordially, then guided to a table and handled with smooth, friendly expertise.
If you're sitting at their bar, the open kitchen is fun to watch. Being a chef myself, I'm always curious, and have a good time watching other cooks work while I eat. Good food in a pleasant environment is all most people are really after, and Ramen Seas provides that without any fuss. I've even had a surprisingly lengthy chat with my server about the Jpop on the stereo. Even if the food were just mediocre, little touches like that make Seas worth coming back to. But it's better than mediocre.
While the main event is always the ramen, I've found many of the appetizers and munchies to be pleasantly satisfying as well. The onigiri are sometimes a touch skimpy on the filling, but just right in size and texture. It's really hard to do chicken karaage poorly, so for the less adventurous eaters, that's a safe bet. Likewise for their other fried items, like the squid and oysters. Their chasyu pork, which shows up all over their menu, is most always moist and possessed of the flavor depth that a good braise ought to, so any meat eater will walk out happy.
Now about the ramen itself. The broths are classic and simple- Shoyu, Shio, Miso, Pork. They've got depth and intensity of flavor, and I've always been happy with them. The noodles have been firm without being stiff, and slurp up smoothly. I often hear people complain about noodles that aren't made in-house, but really, the fresh/frozen are precisely the same. How else do restaurants store their noodles after batching large amounts?
The seafood options are always a good bet, but you'll be fiddling for a few till you've got the pesky clam shells out. The vegetables are always nice and tender, though the bok choy can sometimes be a touch bitter- leave it for near the end, so the broth can work its magic and infuse it with more flavor.
Not to state the obvious, but ramen's cheap, so don't be afraid to add more to the mix. Seas offers a list of extras for not much extra money. More noodles will run you a buck, and an extra egg or order of pork will go a long way for a most modest cost. A large ramen with an add-on or two and you've got an easy two meals for the price of one.
If you're looking for a break from shopping in Sunnyvale and want a light supper, this is on my short list for places to go. Enjoy!