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Sep 20, 2013 10:07 PM

Who's Going To File The First Shin Sen Gumi Sawtelle Report?

I'm waiting.

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  1. Open? If so, I'll walk over tomorrow.

    2 Replies
    1. re: chrishei

      You can walk over to sawtelle? No fair!

      1. I had my first half bowl last night!

        I was there around 6:30, solo diner. The staff greets loudly, and then asked if I would sit at the counter (the place was pretty empty, but during the course of my meal filled up).

        The counter has windows, rather than an unobstructed view into the kitchen. I ordered 6 gyoza, half bowl of ramen, with an extra of spinach.

        I've been to the Little Tokyo location many times for lunch, but it's been several months since I was there. The Sawtelle menu is bigger than I remember, but that might be the difference of me eating lunch in my work day (only looking at ramen) and dinner (having time to think about ordering something else). The change that I did miss? In Little Tokyo they offer bundled add-ins--at this location you order them all separately.

        The ramen was good (I think I enjoy Tsujita noodles better, but hate the lines), the gyoza nothing special. I know I'll be back, and will try other things.

        They are serving beer, and have a personalized black pick up truck I've seen parked in my neighborhood.

        3 Replies
        1. re: cjla

          What other non-ramen dishes are there? Any yakitori?

          1. re: PeterCC

            No yakitori, just ramen and some appetizers (although I counted ~30 varieties). These are the ones I tried tonight (full post here:

            Gyoza (12 pcs/$5.15) – they look and taste like the frozen ones at Trader Joe’s, which isn’t a bad thing. But in a retail setting, feel free to skip.
            Fried chicken ($5.50) – their karaage is more Southern than Japanese with regards to batter, with some herb and pepper flavors. Pretty good, but really wished the marinate was more Japanese with the soy/mirin/sake flavors. It was really well-fried though.
            Agedashi tofu – the batter had kind of a mochi-esque texture, and the sauce was more or less just straightforward soy, but can’t complain about three decent-sized pieces at $3.50.
            Kintaro croquette – essentially deep-fried mashed potato balls. Served with kewpie mayo on the side. Probably pass on this one.
            Soft shell crab – a single deep-fried soft shell crab, of the frozen variety, served with the typical ponzu. Very standard, but for $3.50, I actually think that this is a great choice.

            1. re: chrishei

              $3.50 for a whole fried soft shell crab?!

        2. I can't imagine it'd be too much different from the other branches, overall it's kind of fallen to the rear of the ramen pack for me. I suppose if you can't bother to wait for Tsujita or don't want to clog your arteries then SSG fits the bill, I'd choose it over Daikokuya any day of the week.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Johnny L

            Went earlier tonight. It's pretty much the same, but with a few more appetizer choices. Solid, and nice to mix and match the different options, but yeah, Tsujita has nothing to worry about.

          2. chrishei's review:

            Not sure if I'll post a full review myself, but here's my experience: I went last week (or was it the week before) and enjoyed it. The broth had a cleaner taste than Hayatemaru's, and I liked the thin noodles. They reminded me of somen or mian xian. I like the customization, though for my first time I just got Mediums down the line (noodle doneness, broth flavor, oil).

            2 Replies
            1. re: PeterCC

              I think my experience was similar to Chris's (I've not been to the other branches, BTW). Enjoyed the wide variety of appetizers, thought the soft shell crab and scallops were an outstanding value for $3.50 (also had the takoyaki, deep fried squid legs, shrimp), enjoyed the ramen. Agreed that Tsujita has nothing to worry about, but I think SSG is cheaper and it also hits the spot when you're not in the mood to wait 30 min for a bowl of ramen. Liked the customization options and was also disappointed w/ the lack of a soft-boiled egg. Rrr.

              I don't think SSG is outstanding in any one respect, but everything we had there was pretty tasty and not at all expensive. And it was nice to see how busy the place was, esp since that part of Sawtelle is otherwise so... DEAD.

              1. re: ilysla

                One thing I forgot to mention, they were out of soft shell crab when I went. Bummer.

                I do like the customizations and half portions and selection of appetizers. And the lack of wait relative to Tsujita. Those are the same reasons I go to Hayatemaru more often than Tsujita.

            2. My friend and I tried to go yesterday, and the place is closed for "construction." Lights were on, and they seemed to be having some sort of team meeting.