Welcome to my ramen dream... Currently being interpreted in Ramen Burger Land... Looking for a good slurp? Email me ! - Keizo

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Daikokuya - Monterey Park, CA

111 N. Atlantic Blvd. #241
Monterey Park, CA 91754
(626) 570-1930
Atlantic Place Shopping Center

It's here! The most anticipated opening for a ramen-ya since...oh I can't remember. Anyhow, after being denied entry by a waiter to their private opening party last Wednesday (I guess little cousin Lucky doesn't fly in Japanese), that same waiter came up to me today and said "you look very familiar...have we met somewhere before?" Uuuh...hellooo Mcfly! Hahaha! Kidding aside, the dude was cool and so was the rest of the staff. The space is small yet cozy with a seat capacity of around 25 and it felt strangely more welcome than its downtown counterpart. One thing is for sure, I could get used to this Daikokuya!

A quick glance at the menu and I was like "What! No gyoza?!!" Then the waiter told me to turn the menu over. Duh...

Whew! Daikokuya's top-5-worthy gyoza are always a must order. And from the looks of this backside, there's a lot of new stuff that I'll have to come back and try (e.g. the Mexican Chicken and Fried Spicy Tuna).

Daikokuya Gyoza: A little sweeter than I remember, but still savory and delicious. Did I mention that these are always a must order?

Daikokuya Raumen: The moment of truth. Would it live up to the Downtown hype? Or would it crash like Costa Mesa? Stay tuned for the answer.

The kurobuta pork was outstanding! The melt-in-your-mouth goodness indeed rocked the heavens.

The hanjuku egg was a bit cold and lacking its true flavor. I probably could have let it sit in the hot soup a little longer, but there's no excuse for the bland marination.

The noodles were the typical factory strands that all Daikokuya's use and quite frankly I like them. I've always loved how they pair their tonkotsu soup with a curly noodle.

Now for the soup. It was definitely smooth and creamy without being overly salty. Every sip literally massaged and tickled the throat with a relaxed, lazy response. Although it's not quite up to par with Downtown, it's pretty darn close.

Thanks to everyone who kept me informed on the exact opening date. Much appreciated! And for all of you who are still interested in meeting up...let's do it! I say we order everything on the menu!...twice!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Restaurant Yama - Alhambra, CA

433 West Main Street
Alhambra, CA 91801
(626) 576-9828
About Restaurant Yama

Restaurant Yama has been around for a long, long time--41 years, to be exact. I'm not sure when exactly during that time they decided to serve ramen, but on a recent visit (my first) I was shocked to see "Chanpon" and "Chashu Men" on the menu. Yeah, I know this isn't a ramen-ya and if you'd ask a regular what Yama is known for, they might just say the teriyaki, tempura, and fried oysters. But...since I am who I am, I only have eyes for one thing...

Chanpon: I don't feel like saying anything bad about this restaurant so it might be best if I don't say anything at all. Well...alright, since you keep twisting my arm I'll say something, but I'll still keep it brief. The shoyu-based soup here was plain (but still good) and the sauteed vegetables thrown atop added some extra flavor to create a nice, light Chanpon. The Chinese-style chashu was a slight disappointment, but like I said...this isn't a ramen-ya.

The thin soumen-like noodles were the biggest disappointment of all. This soup could have definitely used something thicker. So if there ever is a next time, I think I would ask for the thin udon noodles instead. Yeah, that might do the trick!

Tatsuta-Age: The fried chicken was outstanding!

There's some history here on why I didn't want to say anything bad. I'd rather not get into it now, but if you're dying to know, email me. But be forewarned, it's really sad...

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Bamboo Teri House - Long Beach, CA

3391 Atlantic Ave.
Long Beach, CA 90807
(562) 595-6049

I recently got a tip from a reader that Bamboo Teri House in Long Beach is now serving ramen on the weekends. So naturally, I waited anxiously for the week's end and decided to make the trek down there before the rain comes in today. Hmm...a teri house experimenting with ramen usually equates to something very bad, but what the heck! I've taken several for the team in the past couple years so why stop now. BamTeri, as I like to call it, serves 3 types of ramen: Shoyu, Miso, and Spicy Miso. Which one do you think I chose?

Shoyu Ramen: Yup, you know me all too well--I chose the shoyu. But after seeing the corn topping, I thought "perhaps the owner is from Sapporo...darn I should have chosen the miso!" Anyhow, let me first say this about the ramen: For $5.99 a bowl you pretty much get what you paid for, but it's still a great deal to satisfy a quick fix. Plus, you won't find anything else in Long Beach. The soup was very light but still had a good flavor. Not great...not bad...just somewhere in between. The toppings (chashu, negi, corn) were minimal due to the price, but the chashu was still quite impressive. The way it fell apart and melted in my mouth was heartwarming.

The noodles matched perfectly with the soup. I doubt that they are homemade, but the chewy crinkles did their job by satisfying my appetite. All in all, I see potential! Bamboo Teri House might someday be renamed to Bamboo Ramen House. Then I could call it BamRam.

Gyoza (Deep-Fried): If I was drinking, then I might have thought these gyoza's were good. Since I was not, I thought...bleh. I'm not a big fan of deep-fried gyoza's anyway, but I had to try them.

Once again, ramen is only served on the weekends...for now.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Man V. Ramen - Who will win??

On February 18th, the Travel Channel will premiere a new episode of Man V. Food that takes place in Los Angeles. If you're familiar with the show, then you know that every episode ends with the host, Adam Richman, taking on some crazy insurmountable challenge, hence the name of the show. Well, guess what?!! He's coming to Orochon Ramen to take on the insanely spicy Special #2!!

Darn...I wish I would have known about this sooner. I would have loved to be at the taping. Did anyone out there witness the event?? If so, holla!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Breaking Ramen News: Daikokuya opening in Monterey Park!

111 N. Atlantic Blvd. #241
Monterey Park, CA 91754
(626) 570-1930
Atlantic Place Shopping Center

I heard from this guy and this kid that a new Daikokuya is opening in Monterey Park so I decided to get in my car and scope out the location. Sure enough, a peek inside #241 revealed the makings of a classic Daikokuya. For you locals, it'll be taking over the old Genki Sushi Japanese Fusion spot and is in the same center as Shin-Sen-Gumi. Opening is scheduled for sometime in mid-February so hopefully we won't have to wait much longer. Until then, here are some sneak peaks of the inside.

I love the old-Japan decor. It really makes you feel like you're travelling back in time.

From the looks of it, they should make their scheduled opening. I'll try to give them a call soon to see if we can get an exact date.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Atch-Kotch - Los Angeles, CA (Hollywood)

1253 Vine St. #5
Los Angeles, CA 90038
(323) 467-5537

Tragedy looms from the land of drama! No I'm not exactly referring to the ramen (although I easily could), but I'm actually talking about how Atch-Kotch was unintentionally left off my 2008 ranking. Perhaps it was the extremely unimpressive Parko Ramen I ate the last time or maybe it's just the Alzheimers kickin' in a little early. Nevertheless, I came back for more to give them another chance...

"Sapporo-Style" Shoyu Ramen: Before I begin, there are two types of Shoyu Ramen on the menu: "Standard" and "Sapporo-Style." Now...who in their right mind would want to just order "Standard." Haha...j/k. But seriously, "Sapporo-Style" sounded 100x more appetizing. And when I asked what the real difference was, the waiter only mumbled that the "Sapporo-Style" contains moyashi and onions. Convinced that there was more to it than what he loosely described, I was expecting something great to make up for my last visit.

Okay, so it wasn't great...but it was still better than before and somewhat curiously impressive. There was definitely more flavor this time around, most likely due to the onions and moyashi being sauteed before its marriage to the soup. This extra process also gave the soup more depth, which was a plus but a stronger, more polished shoyu-punch-in-the-face would have been nice. The noodles were typical but did a good job of soaking in some flavor and the chashu was surprisingly fresh and moist. All in all, I wouldn't mind eating this again.

I would like to write some more, but I'm lazy and Heroes is about to start. I guess if I did remember to put them in the ranking, Atch-Kotch would belong somewhere in the 30's. Peace!