Yatai Ramen Twist, a pop up at Breadbar on 3rd - impressive!
Two of us went to see what the fuss was all about with "twisted" ramen at Breadbar on Third street, an unlikely environment for "street food", let alone Japanese refined cuisine. We were very pleasantly surprised. We tried the Shio (classic) and the Foie Gras (twisted) and were impressed by the quality of the ingredients but most importantly by the depth and layers of flavor in the broths (very different between the two).
Equally well made were the two kinds of gyoza on the menu. We liked the Pork Feet gyoza better than the kale, even though we were predisposed to prefer kale over hoofs : )
Both came with a well made dipping sauce, and both were properly pan fried to be crispy on the outside while still plump and juicy inside.
We were able to bring our own sake (though beer would be ramen protocol) and picked one that stood up to the demands of the rich broth. The Narutotai Genshu delivered the body, big flavor and layered taste that complimented the ramen.
Some photos on flickr: http://tinyurl.com/2a4tfuq
Those who will look closely will notice that the "shio" label is placed before the wrong bowl - please ignore and go by the title of the picture. The elegant service includes little printed labels to indicate the name of the dish; they just sometimes get mixed up!
In all, we were impressed enough to plan on going back to try the rest of the (small) menu. We have until July 24. We suggested to Kazu-san that maybe we deserve a permanent ramen-ya of his own on the West side, but he didn't think it was in the cards for now.
Info on Yatai Ramen Twist at Breadbar is here: http://tinyurl.com/24e5wrx
8718 W 3rd Street, Los Angeles, CA 90048
My 2 yen:
Just went last night. Had the Shio and the Foie Gras ramen. They ran out of kale gyoza, so I had the pork trotter gyoza instead. Coconut boba milk to wash it all down. I brought some yuzu sake myself as well. Excellent service.
Now, onto the food:
Port trotter gyoza: Meh. Nicely fried skins. The filling was standard.
Coconut milk with boba: Takes me back to Relaxtation on Sawtelle, 1998 (except the boba are more inconsistent at Yatai). Yum, though.
Shio ramen - The broth was tasty (and true to form, salty), but lacked depth. The curly noodles were decent in their "bite", and the chashu was nothing to write home about. BUT their hanjuku egg was outstanding.
Foie gras ramen: I had been looking forward to this. The use of foie gras in Japanese cuisine intrigues me. Hiro-san's foie gras shabu shabu at Urasawa is one of my favorite dishes. When it arrived, I saw that there was a very generous serving of liver in the bowl - A good sign, right? Then I took my first bite. I think the first word that came to mind was: "Strange". The broth was infused with the foie gras flavor, yet I did not love it... Or even like it. The foie gras had hybridized with the ramen broth and became a very oily, sweet concoction. Sweet to the point of noxiousness. I was kinda hoping that the foie gras would be subtly infused into the ramen (since it's such a "heavy" ingredient), but instead, I think "shock and awe" was more what the chef had in mind. Nonetheless, despite it shortcomings, I still suggest my fellow 'hounds to try it, simply because it's so novel. But, be prepared for a VERY rich (and sweet) bowl of ramen...
Gotta return soon and try all the other things on the menu...
Went there last night. I had the Shio Ramen, which I thought was good. My wife had the Vietnamese Ramen, which didn't look that special. She said it was OK. I don't think I would have picked that one. They were out of Foie Gras Ramen.
I was expecting it to be packed, but there were available tables.
Overall, I thought it was good. $10 is about the same as I end up spending at Shin Sen Gumi or Santouka. The Vietnamese noodles were a couple of bucks more. We also ordered the Pig Trotter Gyoza, which I didn't think were very special and kinds of expensive. Order the Coconut Boba. It as a really nice flavor.
If you ordered 2 bowls of noodles, it isn't too bad. If I hopped in the car and drove to Monterey Park or Culver City, I would end up spending a few bucks in gas.
3760 S Centinela Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90066
1223 University Ave Ste 110, Riverside, CA 92507