Mr. Ramen is a Decent Enough Daikokuya Alternative
Finding ramen in Downtown L.A. is not a difficult task. Orochon has become famous for their burn your face off bowls of soup, and Chin Ma Ya is a great spot for those looking to top their ramen with fried chicken and Sichuan style ground pork; but for straight up pork ramen Daikokuya is the consensus best ramenya in DTLA (and all of Los Angeles, according to some.) The only problem with the last option is it’s a complete madhouse during lunch, and if you don’t have more than an hour you might be SOL. So, what do most people do on those days when the wait at Daikokuya isn’t worth it? Head over to Mr. Ramen!
Just a few storefronts up from Daikokuya, Mr. Ramen is decidedly more old school (aka “drab”) and at this point is probably benefiting a ton from the spillover of their super popular neighbor. But that doesn’t mean it’s completely worthless.
Their standard bowl of chashu miso ramen ($7.50) is ginormous, and the broth is perfectly tasty and comforting. Noticeably lighter than Daikokuya’s super porky tonkotsu broth, it makes up for it a bit with a few slices of thickly cut pork with a decent amount of fat that melts in your mouth. And most importantly the noodles were decent. You can order the soup in a combo with gyoza and/or curry rice, all for under $10, but as much as my inner fatty always wants to go big- neither is worth bothering with. Just stick with the soup.
I was also excited to try their pork cutlet bento after it was recommended by Profiled Lunch’er “Betty” back in August… but super disappointed to discover that it was $11.50- a bit out of the ML price range of $10. I suppose if you feel like splurging, it’s a pretty decent deal. You get a pretty thick pork chop, rice, salad, a great miso soup, and cold tofu. But I’m guessing there’s a cheaper katsu option somewhere in Little Tokyo.
All in all Mr. Ramen is not a complete throwaway. I wouldn’t drive across the city for it, but if Daikokuya was a complete mobscene, or I was interested in a bowl of ramen a tad bit lighter (although, when has that ever happened!) I would have no problem hitting up Mr. Ramen again.
THE + (What people who like this place would say)
- Daikokuya is for hipsters! Mr. Ramen is the real deal
- I prefer something a bit lighter than Daikokuya’s pork broth
- I like that they have a number of ramen options. Daikokuya is kind of a one trick pony.
- Solid bowl of soup. Nothing extraordinary, but just good. And you don’t have to wait in line.
- I like my katsu to be like a thick pork chop. Their version is real good.
- You need to try their pork bone soup! That’s where it’s at…
THE – (What people who don’t like this place would say)
- Mediocre all around
- I like my broth super porky, and fatty. Daikokuya FTW!
- Too expensive… the bentos are all over $10
- The curry rice tasted like it was out of a package
- The gyoza were really strange (vegetarian maybe?)
Mr. Ramen, 341 E 1st St, 213-626-4252