Soupless Ramen is the Thing to Get at the New Mid City Jinya
When Jinya opened its first outpost in Studio City back in the summer of 2010 it was a bit of a ramen revelation. Not only was it a great bowl of soup (praised excitedly by both JGold and Rameniac) but it was also in the Valley- a particularly noodle deprived part of the Greater Los Angeles area. To say people were excited would be a bit of an understatement. Robata Jinya came a few months later to Mid City, and even though the ramen menu was a bit more limited it filled a hole between the ramen hubs of Downtown and West L.A. But the ramen explosion of 2011 seemed to leave Jinya in the dust a bit, as the Yamadayas and Shin Sen Gumis (not to mention the sole branch of Tsujita) relegated Jinya to “good for the hood” status, but nothing to drive out of your way for.
This year Jinya looks to get back into the swing of things, with new branches coming to Sawtelle in West L.A. and the Miracle Mile section of Wilshire Blvd. The Mid-Wilshire location opened up a few weeks ago, and is serving a quality bowl of ramen. But it just might be their soup-less ramen dishes that makes the new Jinya a destination lunch spot in L.A.’s quickly overcrowding ramen scene.
The ramen menu at the new Jinya is almost identical to what you’ll find at the Jinya in the valley. They have Yokohama style tonkotsu, Kyoto style tonkotsu (spicy) and a wonton ramen (all for $8.55). Plus their more expensive Black, White & Red ramen, which feature a richer pork broth that has been boiled longer ($10.55). The only thing missing from the menu is the Hakata style shio ramen, and the Sapporo style miso ramen as well as the chicken ramen (which they will supposedly be adding this week.)
It’s still a good bowl of ramen, and two years ago it was undoubtedly great. But the noodles are just ok, and even the super rich expensive broth lacked the porkiness of Yamadaya or the refinement of Tsujita.
On the plus side, if you like egg their special flavored half cooked was excellent- and completely worth adding into any bowl of ramen. Then again if you really like egg, you might want to consider their soup-less ramen.
The Cold Ramen ($8.55) is the only one offered at the Jinya in the Valley, and features a thick tsukemen-like noodle topped with red ginger, bean sprouts, ginger, pork and a poached egg. Plus you get your choice of a sweet soy sauce or a sesame sauce that when mixed with the poached egg turns the whole thing into an eggy sesame noodle dish. Definitely not your typical hiyashi chuka.
The crunch top noodle ($8.55) is pretty similar, except it comes warm and topped with crunchy fried noodles for texture. But the concept is pretty much the same. Break the poached egg over the top, mix it in with the thick noodles and enjoy. Delicious.
But my favorite might have been Jinya’s take on tan tan men. More like Sichuan style dan dan noodles than the soupy dish you get at places like Chin Ma Ya, the thick noodles more than held their own against the sweet and nutty sauce which came studded with ground pork, topped with bok choy and chili oil for heat.
There are $4 and $5 combo add ons available as well, with typical items like gyoza, kara-age and curry… but the only one really worth mentioning is the “wingyo”.
Chicken wing on the outside.
Gyoza on the inside. If you’ve never had the modern marvel of dumpling technology (known elsewhere as teba gyoza) you really need to try it.
So 2012 Jinya is probably not going to generate the same kind of fervor as 2010 Jinya. And it will be interesting to see how they do going head to head with Tsujita when they open on Sawtelle. Then again if you live or work near Miracle Mile the whole issue is moot. This is a huge lunch addition to your neighborhood. And as long as they keep serving those other noodle dishes I’ll definitely be back.
THE + (What somebody who likes this place would say)
- Easily the best ramen in Mid City
- Robata Jinya is fine, but I’m glad there’s a proper Ramen Jinya in mid-city now.
- I work on Miracle Mile, and I assure you this place is a lunchtime godsend.
- The soup-less noodle dishes are really great, especially if you like thicker noodles
- Dan Dan Noodles Tan Tan Men FTW!
- They really know how to cook eggs at this place
THE – (What somebody who doesn’t like this place would say)
- A bit too rich and greasy, but without the refinement of Yamadaya or Tsujita
- The noodles are just ok
- The chashu isn’t as good as those other places either
Ramen Jinya, 5174 Wilshire Blvd. 323-549-0188