8 years ago this week as a wee lad lunching in Midtown Manhattan I stumbled upon this sign perched high above Madison Avenue. Promising the world’s finest noodle shop; pointing to nothing. Being a hub for Japanese businessmen, Midtown already had its share of ramen joints but it would still be another two years before the Japanese chain Ippudo brought truly great ramen to New York City. In other words, the opening or closing of a Midtown ramen shop in 2014 would barely register a raised eyebrow. In 2006, the Larmen Dosanko sign was a truly exciting mystery.
With a little bit of online sleuthing, I discovered that Larmen Dosanko was one of very first and largest ramen chains in Japan. “The McDonald’s of Japan” according to this 1981 article in the New York Times. In the 70s they expanded to New York, serving up noodles in soup or sautéed with meat or veggies, but by the time this photo was taken all of the branches had closed down. Well, last week Dosanko quietly returned to the United States. But instead of New York they decided on Los Angeles, taking over the Ramenya space on Olympic near Barrington.
And 8 years after seeing that mysterious sign, I finally got to taste what Larmen Dosanko was all about.