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Oct 17, 2013 10:54 PM

Santouka WLA - Decline continues

I used to love Santouka when they first opened... sadly those days are long gone.

The decline began with the exodus of the Japanese cooks. What I had today was a truly unbelievable atrocious insipid broth, just awful. Only saving grace was the noodles were firmer that what I had been receiving in the past but truly forgettable and disappointing otherwise.

I don't understand what the Japanese franchisers are doing in LA. Setup shop with Japanese cooks and then completely turnover the kitchen staff 6 - 12 months later and the decline begins - serious case of bait and switch. Seen this recurring phenomenon now with Jinya, Yamada-ya, Santouka, Iroha, Hannosuke outlet(s). Terrible trend.

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  1. I suppose its the price a business pays when kitchen staff are paid near minimum incentive to stay once you've mastered everything and there's no room to flourish or grow.

    Odd given how you would think a franchise would have standardized ingredients and recipes to follow. Santouka at Torrance and Costa Mesa have been consistent for me for the last couple years.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Xan7hos

      Santouka has been fairly consistent for me. The others, however, have not. I haven't been to the Studio City one in a while, but the Sawtelle location of Jinya was not nearly as good. The Culver City Yamadaya has definitely gone downhill. Iroha wasn't as good as I'd hoped. And Hannosuke the last couple of times hasn't been that good - a lot of the stuff is pre-fried and over-battered.

      1. re: Xan7hos

        Agree Santouka Costa Mesa has been very consistent.

        Yamadaya Costa Mesa has declined steadily since open. It's no longer worth going for me.

        Thank goodness for Ramen Zetton.

      2. Since the openings of various ramen establishments on Sawtelle, I've found myself going to Santouka less and less, but the last few times I've been there, once this year, and a couple last year, they seemed to be consistent with years past...

        1. Try Meh-oh in downtown LA, it has always been solid. Also the Yamada-ya at the original location in Torrance is still solid.

          If you like a thick porky broth, then Mottainai Miso Ramen in Gardena with garlic or spicy bomb is a bowl I would suggest you try.

          2 Replies
          1. re: lastmeal

            When was the last time you had the miso ramen?

            1. re: lastmeal

              I find myself liking Men Oh's tokushima ramen less and less, preferring their spicy miso more. It's a combination of the broth having what I perceive as hints of bitterness and when combined with the slight bitterness green onions, the overall flavor comes off as dull. Plus I've been having consistency issues with the doneness of their thicker noodles.