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Apr 14, 2008 11:39 PM

Need Santouka/Asa Ramen/Kyochon info

When last I was in L.A., the Times article with Rameniac in it had just come out. As a result, the West L.A. Santouka was running out of shio broth by mid-afternoon. Are they still running out of the broth early? I'm focusing on the West L.A. branch only, although there's a slight chance I'll have some in Torrance during that anniversary celebration this coming weekend.

Is the wait at Asa Ramen still fairly lengthy? I'll be killing time in the area anyway and don't mind waiting a half-hour or hour before it opens if I know it's still needed to get seated once it opens.

How painful is the parking situation at the Kyochon in Koreatown? I'm trying to picture that specific area in my mind but just can't. I'll probably be going after the lunch crowd dies down on a weekday. And any opinions on what to get there as a first-timer would be appreciated.

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  1. I generally go to Santouka later tather than earlier and they have always had shio broth. Maybe I got lucky but that's ~5 visits since the article came out.

    The others I can't speak to.

    1. Asa seems to be busy, but not a lengthy wait. If you're getting there right at opening, you'll be fine.

      Last time I was at Kyochon, my dining partner's parking karma allowed us to find street parking right in front. If you're there midday, the parking lot in front might not be packed.

      2 Replies
      1. re: SauceSupreme

        asa can be sporadic. i typically go late at night (like, 10pm and later) and sometimes just hang out til they close. sometimes it'll be pretty dead, then there'll be a flurry of people and the place will be packed. during peak hours i'm guessing there might still be a wait, but i think these days, with the warmer weather, there'll probably be less people going out for ramen in general.

        santouka (both west LA and torrance) has never actually run out of shio on me, although i typically go at really random times (like 4pm on a saturday afternoon or something). at least that means they can weather the lunch rush!

        as for ktown, especially when it's crowded, i'll park several blocks away and get in some exercise while i can. kyochon isn't too bad as that area will usually have a few open spots, especially in the evening, stretching down to wilshire blvd. don't think i've ever actually parked in the parking lot lol.

        1. re: rameniac

          I'm hitting up Asa on Saturday, so I guess you'd have to factor in the weekend crowd as well. I would love to stumble in really late after hitting a bar but can't this time around. When I went back in January, I was duly impressed with the crowd size waiting to get in. After it filled up, there were probably another 10-15 people who had to keep waiting. Like I said-- I'll be in the area killing time anyway, so it's no biggie. I just hope I'm still not too terribly stuffed after going to Gaja for lunch!

      2. If you're going to be in the South Bay Kyochon (Casron @ Crenshaw)and Santouka (Carson @ Western), are less than 5 min away. I would skip all three and go to Shisen Ramen on Sepulveda and Western, in the Conroy's Plaza. The best Paiko ramen and chicken karaage. The dumplings are sublime.

        1 Reply
        1. re: gaylenwaydelich

          Ya know-- if my Japanese friend had her way, that's where we'd probably be going while in the area. She swears that Shisen and Ajisen Ramen are the two places most similar to the ramen she ate while growing up in Japan (I'm thinking she must have had some influential Chinese friends while growing up). I liked Shisen more than I thought I would because I didn't really care for spicy ramen sans the spicy miso at Ramen Nippon. But it's not mandatory eating when I'm in the area, especially now since opportunity is limited. I haven't had okonomiyaki since last June, and I'm soooooo eager to head to Gaja this weekend and stuff my face. I'm about to drool on my keyboard.

        2. I've never been to Santouka when they run out of shio, and I usually go during the busy lunch hour. They do sometimes run out of the pork special though, which is probably why I'm still alive and not dead of artery failure.

          Kyochon has valet, but I'm not sure how much it is. I think 1 or 2 bucks. I love Ktown for cheap valet!

          4 Replies
          1. re: esquimeaux

            I had always gotten what I wanted at Santouka (the toroniku) until I visited and that article had come out. I was still living in L.A. when Jonathan Gold's review of it in the Weekly came out, and I don't remember the crowds being any worse than usual. I remember the cashier telling me that business spiked up somewhat after Gold reviewed it, but it was just insanity once the Times article came out. I'm ever-so-slightly worried as my stay is brief and I'll probably only have one, mayyyybe two, shots to go there and eat. MUST GET SANTOUKA FIX

            1. re: nakni

              I remember seeing the Times article, but I can't find it online anymore. Does anyone have a link? Thanks.

          2. Been to All three. I always go to Santouka when they first open, Sorry No Help there. Been to Asa once got there 15 minutes to opening. Was seated in first 5 minutes. Kyonchon parked 2 blocks away. Shoulda know better when waiting 15 minutes for the chicken to fry. Counter guy asks "Would You Like Ice Cream?" I Had the WORST Heartburn from the garlic in my life..... Spent next day Glued to the toilet......

            1 Reply
            1. re: Skunk2Racer

              Didn't have a problem at any of them. There were only four or five others waiting for Asa to open on that Saturday. We even got into the parking lot at Kyochon with no problem. Probably got there around 2 on a Friday.