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Focus. Dedication. Greatness (In The Making). The Delicious Ramen Noodles of Ramen Mottainai [Review] w/ Pics!

(Formatted with All Pictures here:
http://exilekiss.blogspot.com/2010/07...

"Living the dream."

In a region where millions struggle to attain their aspirations, it's always amazing to hear when people achieve their dreams. And for those of us that love to eat, it's even more cause for celebration when some of those dreams realized are from dedicated, talented Chefs who want nothing more than to cook great food and call Southern California "home": In the past few years alone, we've been blessed with not one, but two Yakitori masters, a wonderful Oden expert, and a legend in the Ramen world in Japan, amongst many others. And now, we're seeing the realization of another dream, already bearing fruit in the form of 3 distinctive, excellent types of Ramen at Ramen Mottainai.

Thanks to the excellent review from our Ramen guru, Rameniac, I wrangled one of my Ramen Hounds and dashed off to Mottainai. :) Mottainai is helmed by Chef Tadanori Akasaka and General Manager Nobuaki Ishiai. Self-professed Ramen devotees, they both came to the same conclusion years ago when they first visited Southern California: It's a great place they hoped one day to move to, and open up a Ramen shop dedicated to delivering fresh, handmade Ramen Noodles and Soup to match the level of excellence in Japan.

Mottainai occupies a nondescript corner of the Marukai Market plaza (there's no sign installed yet, so be on the lookout for their Noren until then). Upon entering, we're greeted warmly by the waitstaff. They have a simple, handsome Ramen counter (able to seat up to 10 people) with a few tables on the side.

Looking at their menu, they focus on 3 very distinctive styles of Ramen (which may seem sparse to some, but in reality it's a challenge for most Ramen masters to perfect), with a variety of toppings and a couple side dishes. I was a bit worried at first, until I realized that this was a reflection of Tadanori-san's growth and experience as a Ramen Chef: Tadanori-san was born in Sapporo, Japan, birthplace of the legendary Sapporo Miso-style Ramen Noodle Soup. Learning and cooking Ramen since he was 15 years old(!), he later moved to Tokyo to continue growing, hence the "Tokyo Props" Shoyu Ramen on the menu. And finally, he moved to Yokohama where he learned and developed his own version of their famous Ie-kei Ramen, represented on the menu as "Yokohama Freaker" Tonkotsu Shoyu Ramen. :)

You're even treated to a cute fable (created by the staff) to explain the concept of "Mottainai" (which roughly means ~"what a waste" / "such a shame [something's] wasted"). For Tadanori-san, he calls the restaurant this because the basis of his Ramen Soups are what many people take for granted and throw away: Chicken and Pork Bones.

Starting at the top, I begin with their "Tokyo Props" Shoyu Ramen (Soy Sauce-Based Ramen Noodle Soup).

I take a sip: Light, balanced, delicate Shoyu (Soy Sauce) flavors intermingle with their homemade Broth of Torigara (Chicken Bones), Niboshi (Baby Sardines) and Saba (Mackerel). It may not topple Tokyo's best, but it's now my favorite Shoyu Ramen in Southern California. (^_^)

(Note: Tadanori-san does *not* add MSG to any of his offerings (yay! :). There may be trace amounts in the Soy Sauce used, but nothing outside of that.)

The Noodles are where the dream is currently stalled at: Mottainai is using outsourced Noodles (as do pretty much all the big Ramen shops in So Cal), but only until they get the permits and clearance for their very own Noodle-making equipment (currently being processed). They hope to get clearance by September.

But even with outsourced Noodles, Chef Tadanori has chosen an excellent, thin, straight Noodle with a nice chew, which matches his Tokyo-style Shoyu Ramen quite well.

Their Chashu (Roasted Pork Slices) taste fresh (another victory for So Cal Ramen where the majority of places make huge batches to last throughout the week) and meaty. While it is bright, the problem is that they are a touch too chewy at times (needing another hour or two of slow-roasting to soften the Pork a bit more).

And their Menma (Bamboo Shoots) are on the sweet side (which I prefer), with a lot less pungency than most offerings.

Our order of Gyoza (Pan Fried-Steamed Dumplings) arrive next.

Their Gyoza are handmade and have a great crust: Very delicate with a thin crunch. The filling is a bit too finely shredded for my tastes, but as a classic accompaniment with Ramen, this is quite satisfying. :)

Next up is Tadanori-san's representation of his time in Yokohama: "Yokohama Freaker" Tonkotsu Shoyu Ramen (Pork Bone and Soy Sauce-Based Ramen Noodle Soup).

Santouka fans should be aware that this is not the same Asahikawa-style of Ramen like Santouka's similarly named dish. This is unabashedly Ie-kei style of Ramen, reflective of Tadanori-san's interpretation of the creation by Yoshimura-ya in Yokohama.

I'm not a fan of Ie-kei style in general, but I'm impressed by Tadanori-san's execution: It's a milder version of what you might expect from a pure Tonkotsu (Pork Bone) Broth, but it still retains a distinct porcine funkiness, balanced by the Shoyu. There's also the signature Chiyu (Chicken Oil) which takes this bowl to another plane, different from the more commonly found Tonkotsu Shoyu blends locally.

Finally, Tadanori-san pairs this Tonkotsu Shoyu with a thicker Noodle, closer to Udon than the usual Ramen Noodles you might expect.

Perhaps the funnest items on the menu are their Majikku Bomu ("Magic Bombs"), which are little side dishes you can order to enhance your Ramen Noodle experience. Their Red Bomb is a house-made Chili Paste Blend.

When paired with their straight Shoyu (Soy Sauce) Ramen, it doesn't really add too much except a mild heat. It feels like it clashes a little, but Chili Heads would probably love adding this to all flavors. (^_~)

But when paired with their Yokohama Freaker Tonkotsu Shoyu Ramen, it adds just the right level of burn that really complements each slurp. You get a bit of the porkiness that just feels right with some heat. :)

But if there's only one Magic Bomb you can try, then go for their Shiro (White Bomb), a globe of Pork Back Fat and Garlic! :)

Adding this to the pure Shoyu Ramen is pure magic! There's this sexy, lip-smacking facet with fragrant undertones of Garlic that elevate the Shoyu Ramen to new heights! Wow. (^_^) And it's not as overwhelming as, say, Daikokuya or Asa's Kotteri option where your bowl is covered in a sea of Pork Fatback. (^_~)

I try some with their Ie-kei Tonkotsu Shoyu Ramen and it's decent, but I think the amount of Chiyu and inherent porkiness makes this addition less of a standout.

But it's the last Ramen dish that I'm most excited about: "Sapporo Lover" Miso Ramen (Miso-Based Ramen Noodle Soup).

Finding a great Sapporo-style Miso Ramen in L.A. has been non-existent for a while, so I'm eager to see how Tadanori-san's version turns out. I'm excited to see Tadanori-san prepare this dish: It's actually a Kogashi Miso style (Burnt / Wok-Fired) to add a different flavor profile.

And to really make sure I get the full Sapporo experience, I order it with their "Type 1 Magic Alpha" Bomb option: Morokoshi Bata- (Stir Fried Corn and Butter). :)

The first sip is outstanding! :) Tadanori-san spent years perfecting a blend of 4 types of Miso for his Miso Ramen and it shows. It's surprisingly balanced and nuanced, with different aspects of the 4 types of Miso hitting your palate, but never overpowering your senses. The Marinated Ground Pork, Moyashi (Bean Sprouts) and Corn all work well together. The Butter is subtle and adds this luxurious quality, but it's very well integrated, without you feeling like it's an extraneous addition. While I still prefer the legendary Sumire's Miso Ramen, this is an excellent offering and the best Miso Ramen in So Cal. :)

They use the same thicker Noodle option as their Tonkotsu Shoyu, which are a decent match, but I'm waiting to see what they can do once they get their equipment cleared.

Their Tamago (Egg) option is not quite the heavenly level of the great Hanjyuku Tamago (Flash Boiled Egg) offerings throughout Japan, but it'll suffice. Hopefully in the coming months, they can perfect this.

For $1.50 more, you can add a Mini Salad and Onigiri Set to any of the Ramen.

The Mini Salad is fine (a standard Mixed Greens Side Salad), but it's their Shio Onigiri (Rice Ball with Salt) that's really natsukashii (nostalgic) for me. :) For those that didn't grow up eating plain Onigiri, it should be noted that this is what it looks like it is: Steamed Rice, seasoned with a bit of Salt and pressed into a ball-like shape with some Nori (Seaweed). This is the plain variety and it's a bit spartan and boring compared to the fancier versions seen locally (like Yaki Onigiri (Grilled), or with Sake (Salmon), etc.). But it's a decent Onigiri that fills a craving if you're in the mood for this traditional offering. :)

Service has been excellent (despite it being only open for a week or two). In each of my visits, the waitstaff has been friendly and prompt. Prices range from $6.95 - $7.80 for Ramen, with Toppings ranging from $1 - $2. Side dishes range from $1.95 - $4.95.

Ramen Mottainai has made a brilliant splash on the Southern California Ramen landscape. With a delicate "Tokyo Props" Shoyu (Soy Sauce) Ramen, a very respectable "Yokohama Freakers" Tonkotsu Shoyu (Pork Bone, Soy Sauce) Ramen in the underrepresented Ie-kei style, and the vibrant, balanced "Sapporo Lover" Miso Ramen, Mottainai has a menu that already tops most Ramen offerings locally. Be sure to add the appropriate "Magic Bomb" to elevate your Ramen even further, and sit back and enjoy. :) While their Noodles and Chashu can use some work, I can't even imagine what Autumn is going to be like, when they get clearance for their Noodle-making equipment. Imagine the first top-class So Cal Ramen-ya with Teuchi (Handmade) Ramen Noodles, made fresh every morning! I can't wait! (^_^)

*** Rating: 8.1 (out of 10.0) ***

Ramen Mottainai
1630 W. Redondo Beach Blvd., Suite 9
Gardena, CA 90247
Tel: (310) 538-3233

(Note: They had a misprint with their Business Cards so most posts out there mistakenly list their Fax # as their Telephone #. Correct Phone Number is listed here.)

Hours: [Lunch] Wed - Mon, 11:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
[Dinner] Wed - Mon, 5:30 p.m. - 10:30 p.m.
Closed Tuesdays.

-----
Ramen Mottainai
1630 W. Redondo Beach Blvd., Suite #9, Gardena, CA 90247

 
 
 
 
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    1. Thanks EK... I KNEW you'd review this place as soon as Rameniac "out"ed it... Nice writeup, as always!

      ... Must... Have... Magic... Bomb...

      1 Reply
      1. re: J.L.

        Hi J.L.,

        Thanks. :) You MUST try the Magic Bomb. Depending on which flavor, but maybe start with their pure Shoyu with Shiro (White Bomb). So good! (^_^)

      2. "Type 1 Magic Alpha"?

        should i go now before they start making noodles, or wait until september?

        11 Replies
        1. re: raizans

          I would like to try them now, and then again after they start in-house noodle production, just for the contrast...

          1. re: raizans

            Hi raizans,

            I know, I was smiling as well. :) Very fun names for these side items. :) I would say it's worth going once now (if it's not too far away for you), just to try their Ramen now (the Broth for all 3 types are very good). Their current Noodles are fine and do the job (especially for their Tokyo Shoyu), but if it's a long drive for you, I'd say you can wait until September for their Noodle-making equipment.

            1. re: exilekiss

              I'm going to "Live the Dream" today.

              1. re: bsquared2

                Hi bsquared2,

                Nice! :) Let us know how your meal turns out. Thanks.

                1. re: exilekiss

                  It's Still Too Hot. I'm gonna wait till the middle of the week when it's supposed to be in the 70's.

                  1. re: Skunk2Racer

                    Hi Skunk2Racer,

                    I hear you. :) Hopefully this coming week will be much cooler for some Ramen. Then again, I know friends who love to eat Shabu Shabu and other Hot Pots during the *Summer* (O_o).

                2. re: bsquared2

                  It was "All Ramen, All the Time" this weekend. Went to Ramen Jinya AND Ramen Mottainai. I really was "living the dream"!

                  It was so nice to go to 2 great places. I really liked both, but I already posted about Ramen Jinya.

                  Had the Sapporo Lovers Ramen and it was very good. The waitress recommended this one with the corn. She was spot on. The only down side was the Gyoza. Not as good as I was hoping for. We also had a 10 ingredient salad that was a good choice. I like to pretend I am eating healthy by ordering a salad.

                  When we were there, it was very busy. Of course you could never find the place since they have no sign. I love that shopping center since they have a really good Japanese market with a Shin Sengumi location. The only disappointment was that their was a very good coffee spot in the market food court that had high end coffee. Last time I was there, I had a siphon coffee.

                  The really interesting thing was that both places had interesting versions of Ramen. I still love my usual favorite places, but I think these have leapt into the Top 5. Gardena is more of a trek, so we will probably eat at Ramen Jinya more often.

                  -----
                  Ramen Mottainai
                  1630 W. Redondo Beach Blvd., Suite #9, Gardena, CA 90247

                  1. re: bsquared2

                    Hi bsquared2,

                    Great report back. Thanks. :) Their Sapporo Lovers Miso Ramen is definitely one of their highlights. :)

                    You should try Ramen Mottainai's Shoyu Ramen with Magic Bomb "Shiro" (White Bomb) for another enjoyable dish next time. :)

                    -----
                    Ramen Mottainai
                    1630 W. Redondo Beach Blvd., Suite #9, Gardena, CA 90247

                3. re: exilekiss

                  it's just 20 minutes for me, so i finally went today with my sister. we tried the miso and the tonkotsu shoyu.

                  the miso is great, the best in town, but the tonkotsu shoyu is just ok. it's like a movie you're watching on the computer that's sorta boring, and before you know it you're checking your email or whatever with the movie running in the corner of the screen.

                  if you put a red bomb in the miso, it tastes like mabo tofu!

                  as for the noodles, the soup drains from them very quickly so you'll have to endure a bit of mouth burning to get them in ASAP.

                  according to my super-precise rating calculator, mottainai currently gets a 7 out of 10.

                  1. re: raizans

                    I had the Shoyu Tonkotsu today for lunch & I liked it better than the Miso Ramen I had last week. Oh well it is what it is....

                    1. re: raizans

                      Hi raizans,

                      Thanks for your report back. :) I love their Miso Ramen! :)

                      Yah, their Tonkotsu Shoyu (done Ie-kei style) is an acquired taste. It was the least favorite of the 3 for me and my friends.

                      I can't wait to try them when they get their Noodle-making equipment. :)

                4. Thanks for another great review. Added it to my eating "to do" list!

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Nicole

                    Hi Nicole,

                    Thank you. I look forward to your thoughts on the Ramen. :) Oh, and if you have any requests, the waitress was more than happy to customize the Noodles for you (amount of Soup Oil, Firmness of Noodle, etc.).

                  2. Rameniac's review placed it on my to-go list; your review & pics have me salivating! I just want to reach in the monitor, grab a bowl & slurp!

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: OCAnn

                      Hi OCAnn,

                      Thanks. :) I'd be curious to see what you think, and how it compares with your favorites from Japan. :) I think you and Mr. OCAnn can tackle all 3 flavors of Ramen in 1 trip and do a taste test. (^_~)

                      1. re: wienermobile

                        They take plastic. It is right next to a grocery store too, so plastic/cash shouldn't be a problem.

                        1. re: bsquared2

                          WOW! Great miso ramen, Enjoyed the gyoza. I'm still Full. I'll be back.....

                          1. re: Skunk2Racer

                            Hi Skunk2Racer,

                            Nice! :) Did you try their Miso Ramen with any of the Magic Bombs yet? Or just straight? :)

                            1. re: exilekiss

                              Straight with the Butter Corn. I guess I'm spoiled by Sumire

                      2. We had a great dinner at Ramen Mottainai tonight. We sampled all 3 of the different broths. We enjoyed the porkiness of the "Yokohama Freakers" Tonkotsu Shoyu, but the "Sapporo Lover" Miso Ramen was the clear winner for us. We both ordered it with the marinated egg, but I got the butter and corn "alpha bomb" and husband got the white garlic and pork fat "magic bomb." Both worked well with the miso. Great ramen! Service was courteous and friendly. We''ll definitely be back.

                        -----
                        Ramen Mottainai
                        1630 W. Redondo Beach Blvd., Suite #9, Gardena, CA 90247

                        9 Replies
                        1. re: Nicole

                          I was there Saturday night and there was about a 30 minute wait. The ramen is wonderful and the staff could not be more friendly, warm and helpful. They have been very busy and were out of the gyoza so I must return soon. If you like ramen this is place is a must.

                          1. re: wienermobile

                            There was no wait on Sunday night. But I imagine that this might change as word gets out!

                            1. re: wienermobile

                              Hi wienermobile,

                              30 minute wait now. Not as bad as Shin Sen Gumi's wait times, but it's climbing (I'll just have to show up at earlier or later hours ;). Which Ramen have you tried so far?

                              Every time I go, they're out of their Karaage. I hope they have it stock next time. :)

                              1. re: exilekiss

                                I had the Large (only a dollar more) Shoyu "Tokyo Props" straight up and it was delicious, a truly light and wonderful broth. My sons both had the Tonkotsu Shoyu "Yokohama Freaker" with egg and the pork and garlic bombs, it was really good but a little heavy for my tastes but they both loved it. We can't wait to go back. Bill for the three of us...$30. Not only tastes great but a bargain too.

                                1. re: wienermobile

                                  Hi wienermobile,

                                  Nice! :) They have a "large" option now? Good to know. Thanks. :)

                                  1. re: exilekiss

                                    Yes $1 more makes any bowl a large. A great deal.

                            2. re: Nicole

                              Hi Nicole,

                              Sweet! :) I'm glad you had an enjoyable meal at Mottainai. Their "Sapporo Lover" Miso Ramen is definitely a favorite (most of my friends like that one the most :), especially with their Bombs.

                              No thoughts on their "Tokyo Props" pure Shoyu Ramen? (^_~) If you didn't get to try it with their Magic Bomb Shiro (White Bomb), you need to. :)

                              1. re: exilekiss

                                We tried the pure Shoyu Ramen broth plain, and didn't like it nearly as much as the other two. Although perhaps the white bomb would elevate it--maybe next time.

                                1. re: Nicole

                                  Hi Nicole,

                                  Yah, their pure Shoyu is a little on the lighter side, but it's enjoyable when you're in the mood. :) Their pure Shoyu with the White Bomb is definitely a must try next time. :)

                            3. Tried all three of their featured broths this past weekend. Wait time: 15 minutes for our party of 5 (around 1PM). They said they were already out of gyoza by then (does it even exist?)

                              Tokyo Props (sho-yu): The broth was a bit too light without the white bomb (which I promptly added after the first sip) - White bomb definitely makes it better... 7.0 out of 10 (with white bomb)

                              Yokohama Freaker (tonkotsu sho-yu): My friend's favorite (SANS bomb!), while I thought it was just OK. Nice broth, with some complexity. Noodles were meh (can't wait for their own noodle-making to start). The chashu saves this one... 6.9 out of 10 (adding the white bomb didn't make much of a difference)

                              Sapporo Lover (miso): Winner! The Kogashi miso really added depth to this dish, and the magic alpha bomb (corn + corn fried butter) took it into the Realm of Champions. The thicker noodles are a most welcome departure from the norm, as well... 9.2 out of 10 (with magic alpha bomb)

                              Chashu was excellent: Flavorful and chewy, but I like it that way (9.0 out of 10). Hanjuku egg was only minimally runny (7.5 out of 10). Salad had a nice dressing which cuts through the heaviness of the ramen (8.0 out of 10). Onigiri had nothing in it (5 out of 10). Menma was decent, but not stellar (6.8 out of 10).

                              Nice find, Rameniac & EK! I'll be back for more Sapporo bowls. Onwards to Ramen Jinya soon...

                              -----
                              Ramen Jinya
                              11239 Ventura Blvd, Studio City, CA 91604

                              6 Replies
                              1. re: J.L.

                                Hi J.L.,

                                Great report back, thanks. :) Wow, their Gyoza was sold out by 1:00 p.m.?? Impressive.

                                Tokyo Props: Nice. Yah, it's definitely on the lighter side, but that's something I liked (but I usually prefer lighter dishes ;). Definitely glad you tried it with the White Bomb. :)

                                Looks like you share my palate in regards to Ie-kei style Ramen. It was my least favorite of the 3.

                                Sapporo Lover (Miso): Sweet! :) Glad you liked it so much (it is quite impressive).

                                Were they out of the Karaage by 1:00 p.m. as well? They were out on each of my visits so far.

                                1. re: exilekiss

                                  Alas, the gyoza and karaage remain the elusive 'Holy Grails' of this place for me...

                                  1. re: J.L.

                                    One of these days I'll drag my Ramen Hounds out early and we'll show up right when they open to get the Karaage. :)

                                2. re: J.L.

                                  The noodles in the tonkotsu shoyu were meh, but the noodles in the miso were good? I was under the impression they were the same. Unless they actually cooked one longer or something...

                                  I loved the tonkotsu shoyu soup (with the white bomb, and I could tell the difference), but then I tend to favor the heart-attack-inducing soups (and I'm rather ambivalent about miso ramen). I liked the chashu, but not as much as a good belly cut. I didn't like the egg at all - I agree about it being minimally runny, but I also thought the marinade had some alcoholic component or something that was overbearing. I couldn't even finish mine. I don't know if I'd dock the onigiri so much for being plain, since the intention was to do a traditional plain onigiri.

                                  1. re: mrhooks

                                    Hi mrhooks,

                                    Thanks for the report back. :) You're just like 2 of my Ramen Hounds who adore Ie-kei Ramen. :)

                                    Were you able to get an order of Karaage? I think I should just wrangle some people and get there earlier. :)

                                    1. re: exilekiss

                                      No karaage for me - my appetite isn't very big, and those noodles were very filling. I think I'd have to intentionally starve myself to be able to finish an order of karaage as well. ;) Or split it among 3 or 4.

                                3. I went there last night with a co-worker (I got the Sapporo and he got the Yokohama and we both had buttered corn, I also threw in the pork fat) and both thought it was pretty good. As it stands though, they need to get in that hand made noodle making machine or whatever it is you mentioned that they're going to get otherwise I don't know if I'd go back. Soup base was wonderful and rich but I have to disagree about the butter being subtle. The buttered corn was verrry buttery, but it's what I loved about it! Ha~ I loved that heavy butter and corn taste with the soup.. Mm.. I need a seriously wonderful noodle with my ramen though so let us know when they start doing them handmade!

                                  4 Replies
                                  1. re: mstinawu

                                    Hi mstinawu,

                                    Awesome! Magic Bomb Alpha (Butter + Corn) *and* the White Bomb (Garlic & Pork Fat) in 1 bowl of Ramen?? Sugoi! :)

                                    I agree: I'm hopeful that Mottainai finally becomes the great So Cal Ramen Shop that hand makes their Ramen Noodles every day. I'll be sure to let everyone know when that starts (I can't wait). :)

                                    1. re: exilekiss

                                      Nice write up in Todays LA TIMES Food Section. I guess now there will be even more people trying for the first time.

                                        1. re: Skunk2Racer

                                          The author of the LATimes article is "our very own" Thi, a regular Hound on the LA Board! "The Find" = Our find = exile's find

                                    2. I gotta say, the miso ramen w/ corn butter is the best bowl of ramen I've ever had in SoCal. Not 100% on the noodles and the chashu isn't as good as Santouka special pork, but my god that broth is out of this world.

                                      didn't think the gyoza were all that; they still had em @ 2:30p

                                      1. Does anyone know whether Mottainai now makes their own noodles?

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: Peripatetic

                                          As of yesterday I saw them rip open a box and pull out packages of noodles, so my guess would be no.

                                        2. We went the other day, terrific broths all around, not a fan of the noodles. They would not be so bad if we had cheap breakapart chopsticks (heh, never thought I'd say that) but polished chopsticks plus slippery noodles made things difficult. The goyoza was nice. The corn bomb was good, not sure how I feel about so much corn in my soup, it nearly covered half the bowl, floating on top (and the corn bomb was already added, from the pictures I thought it would be served separately). I think next time I'll have to get the chashu ramen just to compare, as I was a bit saddened not to have chashu in my bowl.

                                          Broth wise, they're excellent, I'm putting them on the short list with Ramen Jinya and Santouka of places worth going back to. but Ramen Jinya still has them beat, and Santouka's special pork still remains my favorite ramen protein, even with Santouka's indifferent bamboo and limp green onions (the mushrooms have improved greatly, there lately, though) they still are my favorite, though Ramen Jinya is my favorite place to go, because it is so nice.

                                          Mottainai still has no signage, my companions did not believe it was there until we were standing in front of it, and they worried we were on a wild goose chase. So far I'd rank them third, but that's still lightyear's ahead of the fourth. :-p

                                          -----
                                          Santouka
                                          3760 S Centinela Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90066

                                          Ramen Jinya
                                          11239 Ventura Blvd, Studio City, CA 91604

                                          9 Replies
                                          1. re: jadekarrde

                                            Just had Jinya's miso ramen yesterday and I gotta say Mottainai Miso > Jinya Miso

                                            but that Santouka special pork has a special place in my heart

                                            1. re: ns1

                                              NS1. Have you tried Yamadaya? After my 3rd visit, I am ready to proclaim the chasu at Yamadaya superior to the Santouka special pork. I get the Yamadaya All Stars (extra portion) which include both very tender, flavorful, and thick slices of chasu along with pork belly. It's nice having 2 types of pork in my bowl of noodle.

                                              Also each time I try the amazing broth at Yamadaya, I get more and more confused as to why anyone would wait an hour at Daikokuya. The latter is akin to fatty water compared to what Yamadaya is serving up. Literally, one could drive from downtown LA, have a superior bowl of ramen at Yamadaya, and drive back up to downtown LA in the same amount of time.

                                              Tried Mottainai. It's good, and fun to add the flavor bombs, but Yamadaya cravings win every time. It's easily my new favorite ramen spot in SoCal right now.

                                              -----
                                              Daikokuya
                                              327 E 1st St, Los Angeles, CA 90012

                                              Santouka
                                              3760 S Centinela Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90066

                                              1. re: Porthos

                                                this it?

                                                http://www.yelp.com/biz/ramen-yamaday...

                                                I'm not usually in the south bay - going to Mottainai was a miracle in itself. I'll have to check out Yamadaya if it's as good as you say.....

                                                I (loved) Daiko but major downhill as of late imo

                                                1. re: ns1

                                                  Yes. That's the stuff. One of the best soft boiled eggs in town right now too.

                                                  1. re: Porthos

                                                    Yamadaya place link.

                                                    -----
                                                    Ramen Yamadaya
                                                    3118 W 182nd St, Torrance, CA 90504

                                                    1. re: Porthos

                                                      thanks. Jinya's half cooked egg is a thing of beauty too.

                                                      1. re: ns1

                                                        I just tried Jinya this past weekend for the first time, and while I did not love my JINYA Ramen, my wife's Spicy Pork (a special) was unbelievably delicious.

                                                        I am already planning my next foray.

                                                        1. re: a213b

                                                          Having read all the great things about Jinya, and having actually tried Jinya myself a few months back, I'm starting to believe that I actually ate at some "Bizarro" Jinya. Either that, or I ordered incorrectly there.

                                                          My initial impression of my meal at Jinya was that there was TOO much of an emphasis on healthy ingredients for any true ramen-ya. The broth was watery, the gyoza was filled with chicken, not pork, with a huge salad came with it. The yolk of the hanjuku egg was completely cooked through (nothing special).

                                                          I mean, the collective bowl of ramen at Jinya was good/decent, but nowhere near greatness. I'd place it at the current Daikokuya level (and that's not saying much).

                                                          Fellow 'Hounds, please guide me on how to attain greasy ramen nirvana at Jinya by telling me what to order. I'm willing to give it another go.

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                                                          Daikokuya
                                                          327 E 1st St, Los Angeles, CA 90012

                                                          1. re: J.L.

                                                            1. Yes the jinya ramen is healthy - that's exactly what I like about it, a nice refreshing break from a tonkatsu heavy diet
                                                            2. Jinya has 2 types of egg, full cook and half cook. The half cook egg has been perfect the past i dunno, 5-10 times I've had it. Par with Mottainai/Daiko (when daiko gets it right), way better than Santouka.
                                                            3. Furthermore, both the hakata (tonkatsu on crack, basically kotteri broth) and the yokohama (normal tonkatsu) have been WAY porkier than Daiko as of late

                                                            Seriously, the hakata ramen was TOO unctuous (sp?) for my blood. Good to split, not good to consume by yourself.

                                                            If you want greasy ramen nirvana the hakata ramen is it.

                                                            my biggest gripe with jinya is terrible service and they nickle/dime you to death.