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Daikokuya fading?

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Hi. I used to be a big fan of the ramen at Daikokuya since I work in downtown. Lately I am finding the drop in quality with Daikokuya's ramen. The broth is watery with little taste. There are minimal taste with the bamboo shoots, bean sprouts and the egg. The noodle was never Daikokuya's strong point. The only merit is that the pork is still tender and flavorful. Are others finding the same thing? I was there three times in the last six months and each time is the same. I have not try other dishes the last three times. What gives?

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  1. Do you get the kotteri style broth?

    I'm usually there once every other week and don't seem to think there's any discernable difference.

    Same ramen from Sun Noodle in Hawaii.

    I don't know--I've seen more people waiting to eat there than ever.

    3 Replies
    1. re: monku

      No, I did not get the stronger broth but I didn't either one to two years ago. My fifteen years old son (chowhound to be) also senses the difference. Maybe I am being spoiled by Santoka? You are right in that their business is as good as ever.

      1. re: curtiskan

        Santuka is a differnt type of ramen than Daikokuya. I've been to both recently and I still much perfer Daikokuya's Kotteri. It has this 'funky' edge that the Santouka doesn't...

        --Dommy!

        1. re: curtiskan

          Business must be good.

          I noticed a new sign a few months ago that said if they run out of broth, they'll close early.

      2. Was at Daikokuya last week and thought it was very good. Their gyoza were also better than I remembered. I do think it was better when the tattooed noodle guy was at the helm of the steaming pot though, that was maybe 3-4 years ago. It just doesn't seem as serious now.
        Give Tokyo cafe down the street on San Pedro a try for a different take on ramen.

        3 Replies
        1. re: cls

          Last time I was there maybe six months ago, the soup was strangely uneven. Some parts of the soup seemed not as hot as other spots. This was the first time I have ever had a noodle soup like that. My girlfriend said it was because they put in vegetables or slices of pork that were not uniformly the room temperature. Maybe they just got it out of the frig and mixed it. Don't know, but didn't care much for it.

          1. re: cfylong

            It's true - if you sit at the counter and watch them put the bowls together, the broth and noodles are the only ingredients that go in hot. The chilly egg usually bums me out, but I still like Daikokuya's ramen.

            1. re: cfylong

              I think the egg and cha shu are cold, so if you don't let it sit in the soup for very long, you will sense the temp. difference.

          2. Sometimes, I think that their broth is off, maybe a little watered down every once in a while. But, the kotteri style broth was downright decadent. Stick with kotteri.

            1. I'm going to give a dissenting view of the kotteri style. They advertise it as "richer broth" but it seems like all they do is add a ladle of rendered fat to the stock. It's heavy and greasy. When Daikokuya's broth is on, it doesn't need a bolster of extra fat.

              Mr Taster

              1. Wow...

                I went to Daikokuya today around 230 against my better judgement. Truthfully, it was only because Izayoi and the farmers market were already closed...I had this thread in the back of my mind as I sat down. Ordered gyoza and ramen kotteri.

                Absolutely tastless broth. No body, no flavor...Felt like i was slurping cup o noodles. The chasu has even gone down hill.

                Everytime I'm disapointed after eating ramen in LA,I always wonder how a REAL ramen ya would do here. A place whose entire foucus is on 1 or 2 types of broth which are truely mastered. Sadly, even if my favorite ramen ya from Tokyo opened in LA, I think people here just wouldn't get it.

                Back to reality, I look over at the couple 2 tables behind me. They both ordered chicken teriyaki and california roll combos. No wonder Daikokuya has gone down hill. The customers are freaking clueless...

                1. Lol, they're clueless for not ordering what you just yourself said was tasteless, basically a cup o noodles? Daikoku has had teriyaki (the eel bowl is pretty great) and sushi rolls on the menu from the beginning - I don't see how this would make their soup go downhill. Whenever I'm in, there's a long wait and every table has at least one or two bowls of ramen, and most also usually have something else, teriyaki or something else.

                  I agree that the ramen is not as consistently kick-ass as it used to be... but it's still better than any other I've had in LA.

                  1. The point is...You don't go to a ramen ya to order sushi or teriyaki chicken lol. You go to get a nice hot bowl of ramen with plenty of toppings. Maybe some gyoza, a side of rice or a beer if you're feeling really greedy.

                    Yeah they have long lines, well so does asahi ramen. They both have below average ramen.

                    Please try santouka before you crown daikokuya the best ramen you've had in LA.

                    1. i have a love/hate relationship with daikokuya and it doesn't surprise me that they might have some off-nights with the broth. if yoichi (the tatooed guy) is gone, it might explain a change in quality, since he was the sempai of the place. i have a feeling he might have moved on to help out at one of the other restaurants in the daikokuya family (ebisu, bishamon, or the bento place in arcadia) but don't quote me on that. i never order the teri bowls there. had the tuna bowl once and it was ok but still...

                      http://www.rameniac.com

                      1. I go regularly, and have not noticed a drop in the quality. I always order mine "a little bit kotteri". I used to just say "kotteri", but found it to be a bit too greasy. So I started saying "just a little kotteri", and it's perfect for me.

                        1. A friend of mine who works in Little Tokyo recently spoke with one of the Daikokuya employees about the decline. She asked if they were putting milk in their broth - a rumor first reported here on CH a while back - and was told that they [recently started?] adding soy milk. I can only assume that this is what's behind them [and their broth] falling off. Sounds like they're trying to cheaply replicate the time consuming process of making their original milky/bony tonkotsu soup in order to feed the hordes. I remember when they used to simply close the shop when they ran out of broth...

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: weebie

                            Past mention of the "milk plot" by Modernist, in May of this year (second post from bottom): http://www.chowhound.com/topics/82326

                            1. re: weebie

                              wow, this is pretty good sleuth work!
                              as a follow up. i later asked the waitress if they had changed their recipe. (this is over a year ago) she said yes they had, and i said, please tell the manager that the product has declined in quality. the one girl at daikokuya is my favorite server in all of los angeles! i miss her because i never go back there, and i eat at santouka once a week.... now i wish there was a hakata ramen closer than torrance or the SGV.

                          2. My issues with Daikokuya lately have been more service oriented - I went there one Friday night around 9pm and waited for 80 minutes. Sure it was a popular time, but there were only two listless waitstaff and there seemed to be enough work for three or even four. Diners waited ten, twenty minutes after finishing their food to close up their bills. Tables sat another ten minutes after diners left before being cleaned and prepped for the next customers. And this with a line out the door!

                            I've spent some time in Tokyo eating ramen and there's varying quality there too. But it's hard to find a place in Tokyo where they let the plates or the people sit that long. Noodles is typically fast food, in my experience - even when it's gourmet, even when there's a line out the door, they get you in, take your order, serve the food, and move you out with efficiency. Especially when there's great demand! I was so impatient watching all the wasted time.

                            By the time I ate I was hungry but annoyed. The food was solid - I love their flat square gyoza.

                            1. Whenever I'm in LA, I always stop by Daikokuya for their regular Ramen, a side of fried rice, and a pint of Kirin draft. I think the food is just fine and have no problems with the long line (once waited over 1 hour for a table for 2). However, I wish they would incvest in a new venting system because the place smells like grease. I always smell like as if I worked in Daikokuya's kitchen all day after i leave this place.

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: AdamBNYC

                                Agree.

                                1. re: AdamBNYC

                                  They have put in an A/C and hence the restaurant is more well ventilated.

                                2. Had dinner there last week - and aside from the ridiculous long wait - lack of ventilation and uneven service - it was exactly what I have come to depend on - amazing noodles - succulent pork and amazingly rich broth - Daikokuya remains one of my favorite places to eat in LA.

                                  1. kyushu ramen on sherman way in the valley still has decent kotteri broth imho.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: Jerome

                                      second

                                    2. I tried Daikokuya for the first time 2 weeks ago. I heard from multiple friends about how great it was. And?

                                      Overall I'd say Daikokuya had a pretty tasty broth and *great* Chasu (pork). Very tender and rich in flavor. The noodles however, were a bit disappointing (it was decent, and better than Shin Sen Gumi's recent declining noodles).

                                      However, what drops this place off the map for me is the MSG. I'm pretty sensitive to MSG (dry throat, headaches), more than my other friends. About 20-30 minutes after the meal, it hit me like a freight train. I felt so dehydrated and had headaches. Sigh.

                                      The search continues for great Ramen in LA...

                                      1. I went last Sunday at about 3 PM, and I have to agree it's going downhill as well. The fried pork in my pork cutlet bowl was both soggy (the outer layer) and chewy (overcooked inside), the ramen broth wasn't as pungent as I remember last time, and the egg wasn't marinated thoroughly -- it tasted like a plain hard boiled egg. The fatty pork in the soup was delish as usual - it's fatty pork after all - but it wasn't as tender as before, and there was less of it.

                                        Perhaps it had something to do with the environment as well. The lines were much shorter than my last time (a Thursday night), the crowd was more lifeless,and some of the OG ramen assemblers were missing.

                                        1. Its fading fast. There was a 6 month gap between my last two visits. My last one was Sunday. I was very dissapointed. The broth was soupy and tasteless, extremely watered down. I think Im going to stick with Shinsengumi for awhile

                                          2 Replies
                                          1. re: cynthia105

                                            I was quite happy and I've been there a few times lately. Of course I don't get anything but the ramen. That pork is just so godly.

                                            1. re: ns1

                                              I agree with many people in this thread...Daikokuya has gone down hill. I've been there twice in about 3 months and the broth lacks the depth it use to have and I tried the oyako don -- it was really bad...the quality of the chicken was quite poor and the sauce was thin and unsavory.

                                              I hate to say it but ever since the Japanese guy, the one with the tattooes (he was actually photograped in GQ for August '06 when they did an article on Daikokuya), left the broth is not as good and even the presentation is off....the Chashu pork wasn't neatly arranged but rather submerged in the broth...granted it's melt in your mouth good but it's all in little bits instead of whole slices because it is submerged in the soup.

                                              I totally agree with cyntia105 the broth was watered down....this used to be my hands down favorite....I don't think so anymore.

                                          2. I recently went (and blogged about it with photos) and the ramen was very good - nice chashu, rich flavorful broth and great noodles. That being said, it wasn't as great as I remembered it, but I can't tell if quality actually declined or if my memories were playing tricks on me or if I perhaps craved and enjoyed it more back when I had to wait an hour in the cold before getting my chance at the steaming bowl of noodles, meat and soup.

                                            But I will insert this 'con' about Daikokuya: avoid the oyakodon there! Overcooked and/or not enough of the slightly-sweet simmering sauce.

                                            ~H.C.
                                            http://la-oc-foodie.blogspot.com