If I like my ramen broth so full of lily pads of pork fat that Frogger could easily traverse back and forth without stepping on a noodle, does that make me a bad person? Is it the equivalent of liking Michael Bay movies? No nuance, no subtly- all just over the top flavor explosions. Because I love Ramen Hayatemaru, and I think it’s the Transformers of ramen.
Tony and I did a four stop ramen marathon in Torrance because I don’t have the patience to wait in line on Sawtelle. Hayatemaru was overwhelmingly my favorite. Not just because Jonathan Gold walked in while we were halfway through our ramen, thus validating it after Garrett stamped his approval. And not because they have ice cold beer. It’s because of the almost gravy-like consistency of the pork-rich broth. It’s not quite thick enough for the chopstick to stand straight up, but it’s on the way to that level of fatty density.
I was totally underwhelmed by Ramen Iroha. With their simple red, black and white menu and high marks from Gold, this Japanese import seemed promising.
Perhaps my lack of enthusiasm means I don’t have a sophisticated enough palate to appreciate its refined nature. When it comes to sushi I’m a purist, and maybe Iroha appeals to the ramen purists. But as I said before, I’m a glutton for richness in my ramen.
Jidaiya was pretty good, and on its own probably would be a satisfying bowl of ramen. When sandwiched between three other bowls it just didn’t stand out. Also, they don’t have alcohol but they have a very extensive list of non-alcoholic beer….
The least enjoyable bowl of ramen was from Umenoya. Their’s was full of onions and garlic, overpowering the flavor of the broth.
For more ramen reviews check out this Chowhound link.