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Kotoya - New Ramen Shop in West LA

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Kotoya Ramen soft opened on Monday in West LA at Santa Monica and Armacost, and I visited last night. It is small shop in a strip mall, and has table seating for about 15 and another 8 seats at the bar in front of the open kitchen(estimating based on memory, didn't count the seats). Here's a link to their soft open menu: http://kotoya-usa.com/menu.html. Their grand opening is in two weeks, and they are currently working on attaining a liquor license and plan to serve beer, wine, and sake. In addition to what's currently online, they offered a couple of side dishes. When they fully open in two weeks, they plan on expanding the menu a bit with more sides and desserts.

I had the miso ramen with the addition of an egg and my dining companion ordered the tsukemen. We also shared a side of hayahsi-meshi, which consists of beef and onion in a curry sauce over rice. I'm certainly no ramen expert, but did enjoy everything we had. The miso ramen had a much different flavor than the miso ramen at Santouka and a good amount of spice to it. The chasu was really tender. I also loved the nori and wished there had been more. My dining companion loved her Tsuekemen. The hayashi-meshi was fine, but I'm not a big fan of beef and got tired of the flavor. My companion enjoyed it a lot, though.

The chef has limited English, but speaking to one of the waitresses we learned that he moved from Japan only four months ago, where he actually worked in real estate, to pursue his passion of opening a ramen shop. I think Kotoya is a great additon to the neighborhood, and I'm glad I can walk to it.

Please excuse the bad cell-phone pictures.

 
 
 
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  1. Are they open to the riff-raff of the great unwashed public walking in off the street?

    7 Replies
    1. re: Servorg

      They are. There were just a couple of other groups when I was there last night, but the waitress said they had a steady stream of customers on Monday.

      1. re: jsandler

        Thanks. I love the miso ramen at Santouka (it's my number one place and number one favorite flavor). If you were having a powerful craving for miso ramen and were going for it at one or the other of the two places, which would you choose?

        1. re: Servorg

          My instincts say that if you really wanted miso ramen, probably Santouka at this point becuase I thought the broth had a stronger miso flavor. Kotoya is new, though, and things will change slightly.

          1. re: Servorg

            Have you had the roasted miso with butter corn at Mottainai in Gardena? If not, get thee hence.

            Mr Taster

            1. re: Mr Taster

              +56456456

              1. re: ns1

                Is that a telephone number? I'm pretty sure the country code to Brasil is +55 though ;)

                The miso broth at Santouka is very different from the one at Mottainai. The one at Santouka is more miso/tonkotsu.

                Servorg, if you haven't been to Tsujita on Sawtelle for their Tsukemen, I would highly recommend it. Make sure you get the one with the soft boiled egg. It is one delicious bowl of dipping ramen. There really isn't much need to head to Gardena for ramen these days if you are in the Sawtelle area. Not even for those of us that live in the OC. Loving this So Cal ramen boom.

              2. re: Mr Taster

                My "free time" has basically evaporated since my wife hired me to run the front of her business. So for ramen, and me being close to both Sawtelle and Santouka and - now this new ramen place that jsandler posted about - my traveling down to Gardena for a ramen fix is a very, very slim chance (if any chance at all).

        2. That's still a tonkotsu based miso, right? [edit: just read the menu. Apparently it is]

          Do they brulee the chasu?

          Love how the logo translates to longevity...

          1 Reply
          1. re: TonyC

            Yes, its Tonkotsu based. I didnd' think the chasu was bruleed.