Archive for 'Ramen'

Shin Sen Gumi is Now Open on Sawtelle; Here Are 5 Reasons To Go

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I think it’s safe to say that Sawtelle Blvd, in West L.A., has become the ramen capital of Southern California.  While practically every neighborhood in Los Angeles now has a decent ramen option, Sawtelle has practically every ramen option all on one street.  Want to eat the best bowl of Tonkotsu ramen or tsukemen dippings noodles in the city?  Go to Tsujita. Want a pork fat infusion from the place that held that distinction before Tsujita, and has better rice bowls?  There’s now a Daikokuya on the strip.  Infamous Jiro style ramen, with fatter noodles? Tsujita Annex.  Soup-less ramen?  Tatsu has you covered.  And if you long for the days when L.A. didn’t know what a great bowl of ramen tasted like, there’s always the throwback assari-kei ramen at Asahi where you choose between shoyu, shio, or miso (although you’re probably better off driving the extra 3 miles to Santouka.)

So where does Shin Sen Gumi, the Gardena based hakata style ramen chain with locations in the SGV, Fountain Valley, and Little Tokyo, fit in to all this madness? When they opened up Downtown their only competition was Daikokuya, making it an easy sell.  But their newest location just opened on the little extension of Sawtelle just north of Santa Monica, blocks away from some of the best ramen in the city. Here are 5 reasons you’d want to end up at SSG…

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Daikokuya West L.A. is Finally Open For Lunch

Just when you thought things couldn’t get any crazier on Sawtelle in West LA, signage went up a few months ago announcing that Daikokuya would be opening just down the street from Tsujita, considered by many to be serving the best bowl of ramen in Los Angeles.  It’s enough to make ramen geeks squeal because while Tsujita is clearly serving the noodle bowl of the moment, Daikokuya’s ultra popular downtown location could be considered the ramenya that started it all here in Los Angeles.

A month ago the new West L.A. location of Daikokuya soft opened for dinner, but they didn’t start serving lunch until two days ago. And by day two the place is already packed. Check out the menu after the jump…

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Tsujita Annex Brings Infamous Jiro Style Ramen to Los Angeles

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When Tsujita first announced that they’d be taking over the old Miyata Menji space to open an “Annex” it made total sense.  The  popular ramen spot on Sawtelle has been perpetually packed for lunch since word got out that they were serving the best bowl of ramen in L.A.  Plus, the original space turns into a ramen-less izakaya at night so having a replicon across the street would not only lessen the lines during lunch but would also give Tsujita’s legions of fans an opportunity to eat their ramen for dinner.

Well, the Annex had their grand opening yesterday after a 4 day invite only trial period and you might be surprised to hear that the bowl of ramen they’re serving is absolutely nothing like the original.  The good news is, it’s nothing like any of the other bowls of ramen in Los Angeles either.

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Ramen Hayatemaru is Now Open on Olympic (and Spoiler: It’s Awesome)

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In case you missed it on Eater at the end of last year, I’ll say it again.  If you live or work on the westside, there is really no reason to travel any substantial distance for ramen.  Want a giant bowl of super porky Hakata style ramen, you go to Yamadaya.  Want something porky, but a bit more refined, or the perfect bowl of Tsukemen (dipping noodles)? You’ll be joining the hordes, waiting outside of Tsujita.  And if shio or shoyu ramen is your thing, then former westside ramen champ Santouka still satisfies.

So when Besha Rodell from the L.A. Weekly wrote about Hayatemaru, Torrance’s new Hokkaido style ramen shop, back in June I didn’t really pay much attention.  But now that the Japanese chain has opened a second location on Olympic and Barrington, I’m all in!

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DTLA Gets 3 New Noodle Spots, One More on the Way

Daikokuya just celebrated its 11th anniversary last week with $5 ramen, a deal that made those of us who already hate the lines at Downtown’s most popular ramen joint shudder.  I’m as cheap as the next guy, but even on a normal day, the waits at Daikokuya have me questioning how much my time is really worth.  Luckily it’s not the only noodle game in DTLA these days, and more and more places seem to be popping up every day.  Here are 3 of the newest:

Men Oh Tokushima

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DSC00038This Tokyo ramen chain opened its first L.A. location back in October in the same strip mall as Aloha Cafe and Sushi-Gen.  Fans of the super porky broth at Daikokuya might not consider it a suitable replacement, but pure ramen fans looking for something new and different will find a lot to like about this place.  Their signature ramen is a combination tonkotsu/shoyu broth, giving the soup an interesting flavor that you’re not likely to find at any other ramenya in L.A.  Toss in some thinly sliced, stir fired pork belly alongside the more typical chashu pork and you’ve got a bowl of ramen worth going a little bit out of your way for.  456 E 2nd St. 213-687-8485

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Tatsu’s Naked Ramen Might be the Lunch Dish of the Summer

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When I heard about Tatsu Ramen opening on Sawtelle, three things immediately came to mind:

  1. Ordering on iPads is a stupid gimmick…
  2. … there’s no way this place is going to be good.
  3. What the hell is “naked ramen” and why the hell would I want to eat it?

What I learned after actually eating at Tatsu?

  1. Ordering ramen on iPads attached to the wall is kind of fun!
  2. This place is no freakin’ joke.
  3. And naked ramen is my new favorite bowl of noodles for the summer

Check it out after the jump…

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Miyata Menji: Is L.A. Ready For Ramen Wackiness?

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Thanks to Yamadaya and Jinya and a few others, no neighborhood is safe from the ramen explosion that is currently sweeping through Los Angeles. The Valley, Miracle Mile, Hollywood, Culver City, even Koreatown has a better than average ramen option, saving pork loving noodle fans from the lines at Daikokuya, or the trip west to Santouka. It doesn’t matter where you live or work, a good to great bowl of ramen should be no more than 15 minutes away from anywhere in the city. And now that Tsujita is open, L.A. finally has the kind of place that you only read about on blogs like Rameniac or in magazines like Lucky Peach. The small ramenya dedicated to serving up a single, perfectly crafted bowl of soup- take it or leave it.

When you take a step back and look at the history of ramen in this city, the progression seems pretty clear. Introduction, Explosion, Expansion, Perfection. So, what’s next? It’s got to be innovation. How else would you expect to survive, opening a restaurant specializing in ramen and tsukemen across the street from the best ramen and tsukemen restaurant in the city. Ok, so maybe innovation is a kind word for what Miyata Menji is, the latest ramenya to open in West L.A. (right across the street from Tsujita, in the old Gr/eats space.) Downright wacky is more like it.

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