Koraku Ramen review
I am not a ramen maven, however I do enjoy ramen. My previous experience with ramen in LA has been Nippon Ramen, and I have been there several times, so my review of Koraku, on Ventura Blvd just east of Van Nuys Blvd, in the El Torito mall. where I dined last night, is with Nippon in mind. The site is simple, about 6 tables and a counter much like a sushi bar facing the open kitchen, so you can see all the cooking. The menu is extensive, with many ramen combos, rice combos, and other foods such as pork cutlets, etc, etc. I ordered Miso Ramen and what I thought was a combo with gyozo, but was brought a side order of gyozo, 6 pieces, instead. I thought the broth, when I first sipped it was good. It was hot, spicy and tasty. with chopped scallion greens and spinach adding to the taste. The noodles were another matter. As they sat in the broth they expanded in girth until I thought I was eating spaghetti. I found them flavorless and very doughy. As the broth cooled down it, the broth, completely lost its flavor. I thought the pork was just pork, nothing special, and the half egg floating in the broth did nothing for the dish. The gyozo were large, well shaped, lightly fried, and stuffed with a little meat and a lot of veggie. Again the dough was too doughy, and the dish was devoid of taste. Based on this experience, I prefer Nippon Ramen over Koraku. Pity, because Koraku is 10 minutes from my house. The bill was $12.25, including tax.
Went to Koraku for the first time the other day and I'd give this place an OK rating at the very best. I got one of the combos for $8.50 with the ramen and fried rice w/pork. Fried rice was good, but the ramen as others had mentioned doesnt seem to be their strong point.
Few surprises getting there, cash only, lunch hours, we were lucky to get in 5 minutes before 2:30 oh yeah and no 7-up even though it was on the menu!
Im finding it hard to describe the broth, but it doesnt compare to the flavorful broths of Kyushu, Santouka, Daikokuya or Hakata, not even close. It just seemed to lose it's flavor after a few tastes. The noodles were OK, a little limp and lifeless. The pork had an odd taste to it, very thin and bland. My hardboiled egg had some uncooked parts to it, yuck.
We got a gyoza to go for a friend, so I'll have to ask him on Monday how it tasted, but since Koraku is closer to the office than Kyushu, I'll go back again, but will try one of the other dishes (non-ramen).
Ahhh I gotta go back to Santouka, soon.
Gotta say I had high hopes for this place and they were awfully nice in there. But food was mediocre. Maybe ramen is the only thing to get. I got a bowl of whay I think is called Donburi or Oyakodon. (I know... how could I confuse those names!) Anyway, it's a rice bowl with a sweetish sauce and egg and chicken and onion. But the chicken was "funny chicken" to borrow from my mom. Husband got stir fried noodles with shrimp and veg. Once again I'm forgetting the name. Yakisoba? Really disappointing. Like whole dish went thru the deflavorizer. Gyoza (pork) were nice and golden but I think maybe they were frozen. Even salad was disapppointing. I mean, the dressing on most Japanese salads is always very yummy. Not in this case. Again, had high hopes. Was prepared to be a regular. Not gonna happen.
I went to Koraku also not too long ago and have eaten at Nippon several times. We had the shoyu ramen and a the shrimp omelette rice. the ramen was okay, but for the price, I can better portions at Nippon as well as more flavorful. I liked the shrimp omelette rice although it was a tad salty.
in the future, I will be heading to Nippon Ramen instead.
We just went to Koraku for the second time and it was even better than our first visit. We got the Miso Ramen and the fried rice with shrimp omelette on top & gravy. Both were delicious. The fried rice especially so. The service was great and we will definately go back. As far as ramen places in San Fernando Valley, especially sherman oaks, I think its very good. Definately a nice addition to the neighborhood.