The star of the menu is the ramen with pork broth, long simmered and deeply flavored. The Tonkatsu Kotteri is the most popular menu item, and the spiciness can be dialed up or down as you like. Garlic lover that I am, it’s nice that the fresh crushed garlic on the side can be ordered for free; other add-ons like chili sauce, chopped scallions, spinach, eggs, tofu or pork are available for a minimal charge. A steaming bowl of dark brown broth with light ramen noodles, custom dressed – just the ticket for a cold winter day.
Vegans can feast here too – A very good miso broth is available as a base for the ramen, and the bowl includes mushrooms, corn and spinach for a satisfying combination of flavors. If your only experience of ramen is the super cheap instant noodles that comes with that nasty packet of msg, you owe it to yourself to sample the real deal.
There’s also a lot more than ramen on the menu. Rice bowls include spicy tuna, chashu pork and chicken curry. The tempura shrimp is pleasingly crunchy, shumai or gyoza dumplings are great little bites, and an assortment of sushi is on offer as well. It’s easy to fill a table with items that aren’t ramen, but then you are missing the whole raison d’etre. Saki, beer and wine are available along with both American and Japanese soft drinks.
It’s often quite crowded, but you can order to-go. Timing is important, aand while the lunch and dinner crowds can be intense, there’s nothing like the late night crowd to keep you waiting in line for the limited table space. There is a bar option, where you can watch the kitchen at work while you wait for your noodles.
It’s not unique to Culver City, but a chain that reaches down to San Diego and up into the Valley. Still, there is a lot of care and attention put into creating the broth that is the really wonderful base for the whole enterprise.
While the thermometer is still shy of 60 degrees, it’s a spirit warming mantra; hot soup. Arigato!
11172 Washington Blvd
Culver City, CA 90232