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Mottainai Ramen: has it gone down hill?

I've heard great things about Mottainai Ramen in Gardena and I have been planning to give it a try.

But just recently I have been hearing that the menu has changed and that the quality has gone way down. I also see that their website (www.mottainairamen.com) is down.

Has anybody been there in the last month or so who can confirm (or deny) a severe drop in quality at Mottainai?

Thanks!

just for the record:

my favorite Ramen joints are Tsujita (for both tsukemen AND tonkotsu) and Santouka

I have recently tried Yamadaya (Westwood) and Ramen Jinya (Sawtelle).....both were solid, but neither were quite up to the standard of Tsujita or Santouka

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  1. oh man this will be awful news. that miso ramen with butter corn was amazing.

    1. I ate at Mottainai about 5 weeks ago. I always get the kogashi ramen, which seems the same as always - excellent. The disturbing thing about our visit was it was on a friday night at around 7:30 and the place was less than half full. I partially rationalized that ramen is either lunch or late night food, but that's the case in Japan - what gives here?

      Ramen in LA is crazy good compared to just 5 years ago - it is a food segment that is in hyperdrive. Not the best comparison, but maybe like froyo, the market might be reaching critical mass?

      15 Replies
      1. re: bulavinaka

        One thing I've noticed about Mottainai is that I've never seen it crowded, much unlike Yamadaya, JIdaya, Santouka and Tsujita. Also Shinsengumi and Daikokuya Little Tokyo. These places are crazy crowded. Anyone wish to comment one way or the other? I do love Mottainai, though. Are they making their own noodles?

        1. re: Ogawak

          Mottainai is not purely a ramen shop-- rather it is a front for a Japanese noodle company to use their product. The fact that the roasted miso ramen with butter corn is as spectacular as it is seems a fluke, rather than success by design.

          Mr Taster

          1. re: Mr Taster

            ? Do you have more detail?! Almost all the current ramen shops use the same noodle company. Although they can make noodles to spec.

            1. re: AAQjr

              No. Was told this by the manager after our first visit.

              Mr Taster

              1. re: Mr Taster

                So everyone else is a front for Sun noodles? I wouldn't say so..I don't think this really much to make a big deal over.

                1. re: AAQjr

                  Your reaction to my post is awfully confusing.

                  My answer was in response to Ogawak's question: "Are they making their own noodles?"

                  The business model of Takaraya providing their own ramen shop with noodles has not (nor has it ever been) a secret, or controversial in any way.

                  And even if I had intended to manufacture some grand controversy, your analogy makes no sense. You seem to be implying that "everyone else" is owned by Sun noodles, which obviously is not true.

                  I am left fully baffled by your post.

                  Mr Taster

                  1. re: AAQjr

                    An apt analogy would be if Ronzoni opened an Italian restaurant in San Pedro which featured some really well executed Italian pasta dishes. Not controversial, not a problem, just rather odd and unlikely.

                    Mr Taster

                2. re: AAQjr

                  As always, rameniac has the details...

                  "...a shop in Gardena opening in cahoots with Takaraya, a prominent Kyoto noodle maker."

                  http://www.rameniac.com/reviews/comme...

                  Mr Taster

                  1. re: Mr Taster

                    That same article mentioned they were trying to install their own noodle making machine. That's what my question was based on.

                3. re: Mr Taster

                  >>The fact that the roasted miso ramen with butter corn is as spectacular as it is seems a fluke, rather than success by design.<<

                  You mean Mottainai told you that they did not deliberately pull this together by design? Hard to believe. Kogashi and corn are common to Hokkaido/Sapporo ramen.

                  >>Mottainai is not purely a ramen shop-- rather it is a front for a Japanese noodle company to use their product.<<

                  Is this a matter of semantics? Not to sound rude, but I couldn't care less as long as they're dishing out good food...

                  1. re: bulavinaka

                    Bulavinaka, no Mottainai told me nothing of the sort. I meant nothing more than what I wrote. I love Mottainai so any negativity or judgment you're reading into this isn't coming from me.

                    Mr Taster

                    1. re: bulavinaka

                      >>The fact that the roasted miso ramen with butter corn is as spectacular as it is seems a fluke, rather than success by design.<<

                      As the famous baseball executive (who broke the color barrier by signing Jackie Robinson), Branch Rickey once said: "Luck is the residue of opportunity and design."

                4. re: bulavinaka

                  Critical mass? Hard to say, ramen places keep opening up and it is a blessing for ramen fans like myself. I just think that with the recent openings of high quality ramen places like Yamadaya or Jidaiya competition has greatly increased.

                  1. re: Johnny L

                    Ramen is a "religion" in Japan, and I think the number of "converts" are growing here. IMHO it's not a passing fad; It will likely take hold here as sushi has.

                    1. re: Ogawak

                      Passing fad? No. Maybe enough very good to great ramen joints relative to current demand? That's what I'm wondering.

                5. Had a friend who went 2-3 weeks ago and said it was the same as he remembered (they did forget his fire wok'd corn though)

                  1. I enjoyed this place. A bit salty for me, but overall pretty enjoyable. They even let me sample all their soup bases before I had to order one. It's also fun to sit that the counter and watch the cook use his wok.

                    1. I went this past weekend. I haven't been since a couple of months after they opened, and I got the tonkotsu ramen with half a white bomb (shared it with my fiancee) and extra garlic, and to be honest I thought it was still really good, maybe in my top 3 in LA.