15355 Sherman Way
Van Nuys, CA 91406
New sign, new decor, new chef? Back in August, someone left an anonymous comment on this post stating that Shuchan (from Shuchan Ramen) would be training in Van Nuys for 1 year. Since there's only one ramen-ya in Van Nuys, I often wondered if it was Kyushu Ramen. Then, last week my "secret ramen informant" sent me an email confirming this inside information and indeed I saw the truth today [with my own eyes] when Shuchan himself came out from the kitchen to greet me. Sweet!
Kyushu Ramen has been steadily declining since my first visit in 2007 so it's no surprise that they brought in some serious talent to revive the valley ramen scene. An experience I had last year with their chanpon was a complete, utter disaster and I refused to post my revisit. But now, hearing that Shuchan is here changes the whole ball game. Could he really make a big difference and provide some much needed noodle resuscitation? Let's go find out!
Shoyu Ramen: Immediately, I noticed something different. The soup was not overbearing like it used to be and it also didn't stain the noodles with a dark brown tinge. Although it's a very light "assari" shoyu without much fanfare, the soup was far from being bland and had Shuchan written all over it. Perfect?...not quite. Impressive?...yes! The toppings (chashu, menma, spinach, egg, naruto, negi) were noticeably fresh yet simple enough to remain in the shadows.
The noodles were slightly different from what I remember, but still nothing to write home about. They're just your average factory-born ramen noodle. Sigh...
Chahan (Fried Rice): Believe it or not, this chahan impressed me tenfold. I can almost declare that it will compete with the best of them. I only say "almost" because I'm still in fried-rice-shock. The amount of oil used can make or break a good chahan recipe, like a badly splintered chopstick, and this case was no exception. The oil was perfect, which left the rice far from being mushy.
Shuchan has definitely improved Kyushu Ramen, but I'd still be curious to taste his influence on all the other dishes. Looks like I'll be going back soon...perhaps even tomorrow...care to join me?