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Oct 30, 2007 06:17 PM

ASA RAMEN - brand new hidden gem (review)

alright 'hounds, I haven't been this excited about a local ramen shop since... well, santouka? asa just opened in the place that was once bistro laramie. it's a tiny little ramen shop that totally feels like it's out of japan, not in the gardena ramen "old-guy-with-a-cauldron" way but with that rustic-modern aesthetic that is all the rage and really speaks to the attention to detail that shop owners over there put into things. most amazingly, the ramen is just as superbly well-crafted; they use a proprietary hakata-style noodle that is light years away from anything the other ramen shops have in town. the soup is not "quite" orgasmic yet, but it's only been open a month and the place doesn't even have a sign up. (i'm hoping it stays that way). by day the shop is boarded up and looks like absolutely nothing. they flip out a large wooden board at night (just like in japan!) and from 6pm - 2am, it's pretty much one of the top ramen shops in town. i'd say it's 2nd only to santouka (but santouka is a large chain, ultimately)... this place definitely pwns daikokuya and even hakata ssg. but that's just my opinion.

be forewarned, portions are on the small side (japan-sized lol) and it can be a little pricey. two bowls + a few toppings + takoyaki + a beer ended up a little over $30. actually, now that i think about it, that's pretty reasonable these days.

go go go now! and don't tell jonathan gold lol. the place has like, 3 tables and an eight-seat counter. if the daikokuya denizens get wind of the place there it'll be a 3-hour wait before anyone gets seated. aw, heck. chef kubo will be happy at least. crap, i just ruined it for myself, didn't i?

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  1. Dang! It's in Gardena....but thanks for telling us about it anyway.
    18202 S Western Ave
    Gardena, CA
    6pm - 2am (daily)

    2 Replies
    1. re: Chowpatty

      haha i always get confused where the borders are around there. "gardena ramen," which is right across the street on the other side of western, is apparently technically in torrance!

      1. re: Chowpatty

        Is this in the same center as Sanuki no Sato?

      2. As a downtown dwelling Daikokuya denizen, rest assured that we'll make sure Kubo-san is in business for a long time :)

        Honestly though, I'm in the South Bay rarely enough. Now the choice for ramen when I'm there gets tougher yet. Awesome pictures, btw.

        1. Hey rameniac,

          Thanks for the 411! :) I've been extremely disappointed with the downfall of Ramen in LA recently (IMHO, Shin Sen Gumi's Hakata Ramen has deteriorated badly in the last year or so, and even Santouka (the Costa Mesa branch) seems to have sold their business and have new people working at it, and their Ramen has gotten worse from when they first opened last year).

          It's great news to hear of some real Ramen back in LA! I'll have to give it a try soon. :)

          1. I too ate at this restaurant, last week and I agree. I was just going to post about it, but you beat me to it. reminds me of my time living in Japan. I do agree that the portions are really small and the service was a little slow. My wife, who is a native Japanese, she thought the portions were too small even by Japanese standards and pricey.

            We figured out that the place next door is part of the same group, next door is a hostess club (snack bar as its called) where pretty girls will pour drinks for drunk businessmen and laugh at their jokes. The wife's theory is that they'll drink there, then stumble next door for the food, thus the smaller portions.

            I do like the ramen a lot and might like it more than Santouka, I definetly think the noodles are better. And the takoyaki is great, better than most of the crap served around in the area.

            1 Reply
            1. re: gachimai

              lol about the drunken stumbling, that's what i was thinking. tho if that were the case, they should stay open another few hours, til like 5am or something. one can only dream!

            2. I think the best thing about the rich, kotteri ramen are the thin noodles. I've often felt that the noodles at Santouka had a little too much "chew", if only by a small amount.

              One plain bowl, no toppings, lists on the menu as $6something. Reasonable, and with its porky broth, it'll fill you up regardless. Also, the late hours are great, since Santouka closes so early at their West LA location.

              3 Replies
              1. re: SauceSupreme

                Ugh. makes me wish I stayed last nite...

                  1. re: rameniac

                    going tonite. d'frent Korean Tung-Dalk place preceeding the ramen. gonna have some of the takoyaki pirikara raved about.

                    i parked in front of the store that nite, read the kanji (ya-sa? guess it's pronounced differently in Japanese?) but... couldn't get myself to have another bowl of anything at 11pm.