The restaurant's namesake, Charley Cheng, said he ran a long-ago Chinese restaurant in Los Altos for almost 30 years before retiring and moving to Hawaii ? but now he's back to serve island-style ramen. He took over the 244 State St. space soon after the Muracci's owners closed in December 2014 after not being able to get a lease renewal.
Charley Noodle offers four broths to choose from (miso, shoyu, tongkatsu and original) which can be made non-spicy or spicy. Bowls start at $4 and come with green onions and baby bok choy; get extra noodles for $1.50. Toppings and side dishes ($2.50 to $3.50) include corn, a shoyu-flavored egg, boiled vegetables, fried shrimp, fried tofu, sweet potato, kim chi and for brave and non-traditional souls, chicken nuggets.
The restaurant's website offers a tantalizing description for how the tongkatsu broth is made:
"To make our signature Tongkatsu broth, we slowly simmer pork bones until it is pearly white. Finally, after such a long, low-temperature cook, we add vegetables, dried fish, kelp, and other savory ingredients. The taste is exceptional, in part because it is never boiled. Touched with lighter-than-average seasoning, we pride ourselves in a bowl that can be drunk down to the last drop."
The noodles are handmade and reportedly thinner than Japanese-style ramen noodles.
Charley Noodle is open daily for lunch from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and dinner from 5 to 8:30 p.m.