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Jun 15, 2013 01:00 PM

Ramen Zetton. Serious New Contender in OC

My friend had mentioned it before but once it was confirmed by Professor Salt, I had to go.

With the slow and steady decline of Yamadaya and a pretty mediocre bowl at Santouka just 2 days prior, this instantly became my new local favorite.

They had shio and shoyu made with pork and chicken, tsukemen, and tan tan mien.

I opted for pork shio and tsukemen.

Pork shio was good. Sounds silly but the broth was a bit too salty for me. Noodles were thick like the ones Yamadaya uses for their tsukemen. Stayed chewy until the end. Chasu was nicely flavored but just a touch dry. Will try the chicken and pork shoyu soon to compare. Wish the egg was a touch more runny but Yamadaya's is fully cooked now so it's still an upgrade.

Tsukemen. Excellent. They offer it warm or cold. I picked cold and the waitress also recommended cold. Blew away Yamadaya's version that I had on Monday. Noodles have dark flecks in them and I'm not sure what they are made from. Nice and chewy. Chasu was pan seared and actually more tender than the chasu in the pork shio. The dipping broth was delicious. Complex, touch of seafood brininess, ginger, etc. Really good. I'm not sure it's thicker and more concentrated than the regular pork shoyu. Seemed about the same concentration and saltiness as the regular ramen. At any rate, lots of flavor and complexity. My new go to spot for tsukemen in OC.

With Ramen Zeppon, I think I've had my last bowl of ramen at Yamadaya OC.

Cash only.

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  1. Dark flecks, sounds like maybe some buckwheat flour mixed in? Hayatemaru's tsukemen noodles had similar flecks and slight grit. Maybe next time I go in I'll ask if its buckwheat.

    4 Replies
    1. re: PeterCC

      Also considered buckwheat but the noodle was smooth, no grit. Very nice to see some individuality and specialization.

      1. re: PeterCC

        I've seen a traditional ramen noodle making technique where ashened cherry wood is soaked in water and that water is then mixed with the flour to produce the dough for the noodle. I assume the ash water lowers the pH (?).

          1. re: jaykayen

            More alkaline means a higher pH.

      2. Round 2 today.

        -Pork Shoyu. Very good. Not as salty as the shio but still a bit too salty for me. Will have to try ask ask for light salt next time.

        -Chicken Shio. Rich stuff. Pretty much the same richness as the pork. Again, a touch too salty for me.

        -Tsukemen. Again outstanding. The broth is very different from the pork shoyu. Complex, great fish brininess. Wish I could get a bowl of regular ramen with this broth. I asked about the noodles and they said it was made with tapioca. Don't think I've ever had tapioca ramen.

        Eggs were better today. Custardy and liquid center.

        Definitely my favorite OC ramen for now.

        I did just get a lead on a place called Meiji Seimen that supposedly does good udon and ramen just down the street. Will look into that later this week.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Porthos

          Tried Meiji Seimen tonight. I prefer Ramen Zetton by a comfortable margin.

          1. re: dreamcast18

            I know right? Haven't tried it yet. Maybe today. Very curious.

            1. re: Porthos

              The hainan chicken picture on yelp looks wonky.

              I tried their tantanmen ramen a while back, it was a decent attempt but I'd never want it again. Maybe I'll go back and check out their chicken ramen, or a tonkotsu.

              Right now I'm liking Jinya and Iroha best.

              1. re: BrewNChow

                If you go back, do the tsukemen.

                Otherwise ask for the other ones less salt.

                1. re: BrewNChow

                  Took one for the team and tried the "hainan chicken". Chicken is actually very tender and flavorful. Topped with a mound of scallions, ginger, sesame seeds, and shoyu. The rice doesn't have chicken broth flavor. Pretty tasty if you just view it as a chicken bowl.

            2. "too salty" is a very common review theme on yelp btw.

              Where is this place on Baker?

              1 Reply
              1. re: ns1

                Next to Ikko. Just behind/before Mesa.

              2. Glad you liked it. It's definitely quirky, both in the manga-inspired identity of the little mascot, as well as in the food.

                I've been a handful of times, and tried to get something different each time. I liked most of them, except for the allegedly spicy miso made with habanero or something. It's spicy in the Japanese sense of heat, which is to say it isn't spicy at all. I'd bypass that one, and keep working through the menu.

                12 Replies
                1. re: Professor Salt

                  Stupid question:

                  But is there any vegetarian ramen places around town ? la included too.

                  1. re: kevin

                    Jinya has a vegetarian ramen, at least the Costa Mesa location does.

                    1. re: Professor Salt

                      YMMV but I disliked that ramen. Very boring.

                      1. re: BrewNChow

                        I'm not vegetarian, so I personally wouldn't order the veg ramen over the pork or chicken broth.

                        Thanks for taking one for the team and reporting back.

                    2. re: kevin

                      Unless I'm dreaming, I think that Porthos said that Ramen Zetton has vegetarian ramen. Correct?

                      1. re: josephnl

                        I don't know if he did.

                        Porthos, where you at ??????

                        1. re: josephnl

                          Yes. They have a vegetarian option.

                          1. re: Porthos

                            Yes, I can also verify they have a vegetarian option. Been back a few times and although the noodles aren't my preference otherwise it's a stellar spot, and the chewier noodles really are a preference, nothing wrong with them per se. Tsukemen is a great order there so thanks to Porthos for the suggestion, although I always seem to make a huge mess eating it :)

                            Santouka and Ramon zetton are my tops still in OC, just depends on what vibe I'm looking for, if I have cash or not, and if I want a beer and a game of pool after at the oddly addicting dive bar down from Ramen zetton.

                            Yamadaya's pork is inedible on the other hand and officially off my list which is unfortunate since their tonkotsu broth is absolutely spot on.

                            1. re: PHXeater

                              What's the name of the dive bar ?

                              Thanks for the verification on the vegetarian option.

                              1. re: kevin

                                Oh, right, that's the most important part. The Huddle, has that delightful dive bar feel where everyone ignores you and nobody is caught dead dressing up, it's so nice to escape the Newport scene once in awhile...

                                1. re: PHXeater

                                  I do hate that they open at 6:30 for dinner. I like to get ramen a lot on my way home in the evenings, so small complaint, but relevant for any early birds like myself. Nothing more frustrating than having no cash so Santouka is out yet Zetton isn't open yet...the horror of my life sometimes.

                                  1. re: PHXeater

                                    I'll check out the huddle.

                                    Of course sometimes and usually the drinking is more important than the eating.