Katana-Ya 430 Geary St./Mason St., 1 blk. from Union Square, (415) 771-1280. L-D daily; $-$$. No reservations. Conveniently located directly across the street from A.C.T., this teeny venue keeps ‘em waiting and then packs ‘em in. Huge bowls of noodles (choose from ramen, soba, and udon) are topped with fried chicken, tempura, and more (to keep toppings crisp, ask for them to be served on the side). Also note that the miso broth is the least salty option and that MSG is used but can be omitted by request. Beer and saki are the drinks of choice. Service is fast, allowing theater-goers a quick turnaround once seated. Sushi is made at a counter in the back, where often-overlooked seating sits empty. The salmon and avocado roll and the California roll are favorites.
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