I heard there was a new ramen joint in the SGV that was worth trying. So we went to try it before spending the day in Hollywood. Ton-chan, located where Aji-man used to be, serves "Tokyo Tonkotsu Ramen" (Iekei?) with a mission "to spread happiness in a bowl of ramen." Oookay, let's give it a try!
When we arrived the place was packed. Normally this is a good sign, but I quickly saw that the service was in shambles. The frustrated faces of waiting customers told me that we would be in for some fun. Yay. Let me just first say that the service was indeed horrible. But I can't put all the blame on the servers. Lack of proper training seems to be the main culprit. The kitchen was a mess. Orders kept getting mixed up and forgotten, explaining why the customers were so frustrated. I honestly felt like getting up and helping them, but I resisted. When the chaos somewhat settled down, I received my bowl of shoyu ramen. This was not an attractive bowl as you can tell--a sure sign that the chef was losing his cool. The soup was interesting. It was thick, but tasted a bit watered down (I'll get to that shortly) and it left my lips feeling very oily. I didn't like it very much.
The noodles were chewier than what I've found in most other bowls slurped in LA, but nevertheless they were missing something. Now getting back to the soup: After observing the chef make several bowls, I noticed that he wasn't shaking the water out of the noodles at all. Once again a lack of proper training.
And what is this? Unacceptable!
So after I received my bowl of ramen and then finished it, my girlfriend's tsukemen finally came out. Bad timing also equals bad service.
As for the taste...very fishy. In my opinion, tsukemen should not be served in LA until someone figures out how to make good noodles.
Another clump? Are you kidding me? Sigh.
Where's Neo when you need him?
I would have called on MJ...
...but he was too busy hustlin'.
Anyway, I wasn't gonna leave LA without trying Ramen Jinya, especially after reading Mr. Gold's description of the soup as "a broth on steroids, a broth that seemed to be trying to establish the record for the most umami per milligram."
I ordered the Shoyu Tonkotsu Ramen. So what did I think? There won't be any Oscars given out for Best Ramen this year. I could definitely tell that this bowl was cared for (unlike Ton-chan's), but the soup just seemed very average. And where was this aforementioned umami? The spinach needs to go and the fried onions need to stay on grandma's casserole.
In this case, strangely enough, I would have liked the noodles to be more stiff with more bite. But that's just me. I'm not an expert, I'm just a freak.
I respect all these new ramen shops in LA and what they are trying to accomplish, but after spending the last few years devoted to the noodle, we still have a long way to go. Anyway, I'm done with eating ramen in LA. I still have a week left, but I won't be slurping another bowl until I get back to Tokyo. For now I think I'll just climb buildings and act angry and enjoy the views from above.
If you visit Los Angeles, you absolutely have to visit the Griffith Observatory at dusk.