3760 Centinela Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90066
After spending the last 8 days under citizen's arrest (haha...whatever), I've finally posted bail and found my way to the rameniac's hood on the westside. Yes, it's hard to believe that I've never been to the "Santa Monica" Mitsuwa before, but since you-know-who has been touting this Santouka for quite awhile, I had to at least come and see if it was better than the others. Unfortunately, the signature shio ramen was sold out by the time I got there (booo...), but I wasn't going to let that discourage the night.
Kara Miso Ramen: Ka-Ra-Mi-So-La-Ti-Do~~. Okay, so I liked it. Rameniac was right. For some reason this West LA branch tastes a lot better than the others. But why? Who knows... This Kara Miso tasted great and really satisfied my constant ramen craving. Although it's not very spicy at all, I felt like it was just the right amount. The toppings (kikurage, chashu, menma, negi) were abnormally normal, but the noodles were magnificently magnificent!
It's hard to imagine that these noodles were even remotely related to the starchy madness I recently experienced in Torrance. The chashu pictured below was also juicier and fresher than I could ever imagine. I was impressed! Perhaps the gateway of ramen in CA does begin in West LA...
Tokusen Toroniku Shoyu Ramen: Since I couldn't have the Shio and ordering the Tokusen Toroniku was a must, Shoyu was the next best option. With disappointment looming in my mind (not from the Toroniku), I was prepared for a mediocre shoyu ramen at best. But first, let's talk about the specialty. If Santouka's Toroniku could talk, I have no doubt that it would sound as confident as Muhammed Ali in his prime. Guaranteed!
Now to the Shoyu. Although it really can't compare to Santouka's signature Shio Ramen, today's Shoyu was incredibly better than those found further south. I can't believe I'm really saying this. Rameniac must be pumping something in the air up here! And the noodles in the Shoyu were exactly as good as the noodles in the Kara Miso.
So maybe I've changed my tune about Santouka (keyword being maybe), but it will still take more to change the score. Hmm...how much more?