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Santouka - West LA

I'm excited to finally be able to try Santouka this week!

Question. For a first-timer, what should I order to fully appreciate Santouka?

Rameniac told me about Santouka when I ended up sitting next to him at Sushi Zo but I can't remember what he suggested :)

Thank you :)

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  1. Is the one that's supposed to open at the Mitsuwa marketplace on Centinela? I was just there a few days ago and it didn't look remotely open (where Tampopo used to be?).

    1. There's a sign up that claims it will open on the 13th (but I agree with you, I don't see how)

      2 Replies
        1. re: MeowMixx

          As of yesterday (the 11th) they say that Santouka WILL open on Wednesday - I know I'll be there!

      1. Get the standard shio ramen. Simple yet elegant, the flavors unmuddied with extraneous toppings.

        1 Reply
        1. re: WBGuy

          Don't just get the "standard" shio ramen. Make sure to get the shio with the toroniku tokusen. Higher-quality, slow-cooked, tender chashu. Awesome.

        2. yea the shio ramen is their signature! maybe they'll open with a very sparse setup or one type of ramen only... hmmm... eh, i'll still be there.

          http://www.rameniac.com

          1 Reply
          1. re: rameniac

            Please report back with pictures!

          2. I just called Mitsuwa... Santouka WILL be open TODAY at 11am... see y'all there!!!

            1 Reply
            1. re: banquisha

              Wow. They must have been working hard all night -- yesterday it looked weeks away. Although restraunt supplies were being staged in the seating area...

            2. It's officially open...and POPPPING...My buddies already downed some Shio ramen and got a free ticket. They said the quality was the same as other santouka locations.

              Finally, some good ramen on the westside!!!

              6 Replies
              1. re: ronnie_gaucho

                The only thing is... darn them... they don't pack it up to go!! Grrr... But otherwise...

                WHEE!!!!! *Spins in chair*

                --Dommy!

                1. re: Dommy

                  No reputable ramen shop will ever make ramen to go. In Japan, I think the experts say that you should be done eating ramen within 10 minutes of the noodles hitting the broth. If you find places that pack ramen to go, it's a sign that it's not worth going to.

                    1. re: E Eto

                      I get it to go all the time from Daikokuya and other popular ramen houses, it suffers no real quality issues at home either because I prepare it right away when I get home...

                      --Dommy!

                      1. re: Dommy

                        When you get it to go from daikokuya, they always pack the noodles separately from the broth.

                        Mr Taster

                        1. re: Mr Taster

                          Most do.... they also do that for almost all the Chinese Soups I get (for both traditional, hand cut and risk cake Noodles)to go... :)

                          Thanks for clearing that up Mr. Taster... yes, I would not return to a place that gave me a container with the noodles and broth already mixed... Not only does that indeed ruin the texture, but it gives me much less soup and Noodles!! :)

                          --Dommy!

                2. I was there at 11 and they weren't open yet :(

                  1. I went at 11:30 day. I received a free ticket, which must be used before Jan 31st. I got the shio ramen and found the quality to be equal to that of the Torrance location. I even recognized one of the chefs from Torrance (must have brought him over for the launch).

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: yoyoma25

                      Great news that it's like the Torrance one. What is this free ticket?

                    2. I arrived around 2:30 today and asked about the free soup. They are doing this promotion for the next 2-3 days, for the first 100 people each day. Menu for now is limited to Shio, Soy, Miso and Spicy Miso (no side dishes either, like those marinated eggs).

                      Shio was wonderful... rich and flavorful, noodles nice and chewy, seasoned bamboo shoots and the rich, lovely pork.

                      I'll be back tomorrow AM!

                      Mr Taster

                      1. i was there with my co-conspirator bikuta at around 11:30. we killed a couple omori shios and got redeemable tickets # 226 and 227. redeemed my ticket 6 hours later with a few friends by my side ;P and killed a karamiso. they're on the top of their game today - slightly better than santouka torrance as of late. details to follow at... you know where =P

                        1. I'm so excited I can't stand it. I've been to the one in chicago many times. Since moving here I've been once a week on my day off in the past three weeks unbeknownst to me there was one in the torrance location I stood before it in complete shock and awe...

                          1. Can someone please post an address for this location? Thanks!

                            1. i've posted pictures from the grand opening yesterday:

                              http://www.rameniac.com/index/

                              btw here's the address (courtesy of oishii eats page)...

                              Mitsuwa Market
                              3760 Centinela Ave.,
                              Los Angeles, CA 90066
                              (310)398-2113
                              10:00am - 8:00pm

                              http://www.oishiieats.blogspot.com/

                              1. Wonderful shio ramen today. Love it!

                                1. I went to Santouka for the FIRST TIME yesterday!!! My sister and I ordered the shio and shoyu ramens and can I just tell you, it was DUH-LEE-SHUSS. The Shio ramen is amazing!!! Can't wait to go back.

                                  8 Replies
                                  1. re: MeowMixx

                                    This place sounds great. How does it compare with Asahi Ramen on Sawtelle?

                                    1. re: ming

                                      Completely different style. Santouka's broth is so much richer and denser than Asahi. It is in the same style as Chabuya, but better, more balanced IMO.

                                    2. re: MeowMixx

                                      haha welcome to the next level in ramen! now you know why i'm always saving up my scratch for trips across the pacific lol. most places in L.A. just can't compare.

                                      http://www.rameniac.com

                                      1. re: rameniac

                                        If you find any other try-worthy places, please please let me know! My sister and I can't stop thinking about Santouka (especially considering this freezing weather). I think we're going to get our Santouka fix tonight or tomorrow :)

                                        One thing I'd like to mention: So on Sunday, after a few spoonfuls of my shio, I reached over to try my sister's shoyu (soy sauce). It was good, but not as good as the Shio of course. Then I'd take another spoonful of the shio and it would taste SO much better. It's like the shoyu brings out the flavor of the shio? Just an observation :)

                                        1. re: MeowMixx

                                          Sadly, if you want ramen that is even CLOSE to quality spots in JP, Santouka is the only place in LA. Now you guys might understand why i was so excited about the opening. Asahi, ramenya arent even close.

                                          1. re: ronnie_gaucho

                                            What is santouka's secret? Has anyone talked to employees?

                                            1. re: kare_raisu

                                              Yes - can anyone explain the goodness? Lots of porkiness from the pork bones I guess-- but other things? Maybe the fattiness, too?

                                              1. re: longtimehere

                                                There is no secret. It's just focusing and mastering a few broths through hard work and time. Compare the Miso broth at santouka to asahi ramen. After a while, you'd think asahi just cracked open a bunch of instant miso soup packets to make their broth.

                                                You can try asking the staff, but most ramen shops keep their secrets close.

                                    3. Might go back again today, just can't get enough. I wish they would offer a set that would include a salad.

                                      1. We're going tonight before our flight to Boston!!! WHEEEE!!!!! :)

                                        --Dommy!

                                        1. do they do take-out at Santouka? yes i know it's not the same but still, whats the deal?

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: bassbiz

                                            No take out - Dommy mentioned earlier.

                                          2. Are all the broths at Santouka pork-based?

                                            Anyone know or should I give 'em a call?

                                            Thanks :D

                                            2 Replies
                                            1. re: ray9x

                                              Yes - we were there last week and asked just that. My non-pork-eating wife found some market sushi, though, and all were happy. But it is quite a porcine extravaganza at Santouka. A very, very good one.

                                              1. re: CulverJack

                                                thanks for the heads up, CulverJack. i haven't been to mitsuwa in a while, but i hope i'll be able to find something else good there. in any case, i'll snag myself a box of blackblack gum, hehe. :)

                                            2. Finally got a chance to try out Santouka this afternoon. Played it smart by getting there a little after 11:30 to avoid the lunch rush. Ordered up a regular size # 14 {chashu ramen/shoyua flavor (soy sauce)}. A good portion with generous helpings of delicious chashu meat (so tender and flavorful). Liked the broth, not too salty and the noodles had this great snap to it! I really enjoyed it and would go back over and over again because it's close by, but I still prefer the ramen at Daikokuya and Hakata (Shin Sei Gumi), it's definetly the broth that makes a huge difference.

                                              2 Replies
                                              1. re: bassbiz

                                                try the shio... flavorwise, it's much better than the shoyu and the miso and is considered their signature soup.

                                                1. re: bassbiz

                                                  I'm with you, bassbiz. I like Santouka. I go regularly because it's close. But I prefer both the broth and noodles at SSG.

                                                  We're spoiled rotten to have all these great options in our backyards. :)

                                                2. OK, so after realizing I did not order their gold standard shio ramen but instead tried the not too memorable spicy miso a few weeks ago at the new W. LA location. I had a chance to redeem myself at the Torrance this past weekend.

                                                  Been a while since I had ramen this good, nuf said.

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: Sgee

                                                    That is so funny, I really didn't care much for the Shio at this Santuka, I much perfered the spicy miso in the Torrance Location...

                                                    --Dommy!

                                                  2. I ended up having to go to Ramenya yesterday when Mitsuwa/Santouka closed early. I'd been going fairly frequently the past few weeks and the depth of flavor in the Santouka broth far outshines the Ramenya broth.

                                                    That being said, I like the roast pork at Ramenya better.

                                                    1. went tonight. it was ok...the ramen was a little more "underdone" than I was used too.....anyone try the Natto?

                                                      3 Replies
                                                      1. re: Xericx

                                                        I couldn't get past the "salivary" consistency. I prefer the salmon roe or the leeks.

                                                        1. re: Xericx

                                                          Underdone as in crunchy or underdone as in 'firm'. Their noodles tend to have a little bite (about equal to Daikokuya), I actually perfer the firmer ones from Hakata Ramen in Gardena.

                                                          --Dommy!

                                                          1. re: Dommy

                                                            more firm than anything.....not crunchy by anymeans but not the consistency I would be used to......no matter, I just let it sit a while longer......i'll go back a few times....it wasn't bad, wasn't outstanding....I liked Ramenya's ramen more......next time I'll get the Natto

                                                        2. Had a superb bowl of Shio with the toroniku side (#9) over the weekend. Best ramen I've had in SoCal. And I love that the eating area is communal- my wife doesn't eat beef/pork, so she goes into Mitsuwa and gets some sushi or mochi. I'll get a big bottle of beer.

                                                          1. Went back today, took the advice of all my fellow hounds and went with the bowl of Shio. The pork was so juicy and flavorful, although the noodles I felt to be a little more gummier this time around, that broth rocks!

                                                            1. Okay folks - time to break out the movie, "Tampopo." It's all in the details...

                                                                1. re: MeowMixx

                                                                  about time that guy finally went there!

                                                                2. sorry folks. my companions and i all found the shio broth at this place too salty. yes i know it's the salty broth but salty usually means richer flavor not more salt.

                                                                  we shall not return.

                                                                  3 Replies
                                                                  1. re: AppleSpam

                                                                    My mom reported back to me with the same sentiments in general - but she is also one who will salt to taste, keep adding more salt, then tries to add water to "desalt" the doomed dish... She's one to talk... I still love her though... just hide the salt from her...

                                                                    1. re: AppleSpam

                                                                      AppleSpam, which ramen joints do you prefer?

                                                                      1. re: AppleSpam

                                                                        most ramen shops worth their, um, salt, may well be a bit much for some, especially those who don't make a daily habit out of raising their blood pressure. i lower mine with copious hours of zen meditative calming. lol just kidding. although it is pretty rich, i'd say that santouka is the only ramen shop in town with real multi-dimensional flavor. well, gardena ramen too but that's another story.

                                                                        http://www.rameniac.com/resource/comm...