Gio and I were in Los Angeles over the weekend for a good friends book launch and gallery opening and of course we HAD to find a place to get some ramen. After looking around for places to go (We know the usual places in Little Tokyo etc.) we figured out it would be easier if we stayed near our hotel in Hollywood. We didn’t have a ton of time, and the prospect of spending ~$80 in cab fare wasn’t too appealing.
So after looking on Yelp, we came across Takara Ramen Bar which was walking distance from the hotel. A newish place on Sunset Blvd., the restaurant had an open kitchen facing a row of booths against large glass windows. We sat down and after looking over the menu I ended up going with one of my favorites, Tonkotsu Ramen.
Takara’s Tonkotsu ramen includes the following toppings: Chashu, seasoned boiled egg, bamboo, red pickled ginger, green onions, and seaweed. First impression when the bowl arrived was that it looked really nice. Toppings were all fresh, the chashu was HUGE, and there was tons of the trademark floating fat and bits that should be in a tonkotsu broth.
I decided to start with the chashu since it was so very right up in front. The taste and texture was fantastic, and honestly, one of the better I have ever had. It had a great smokey flavor from being slow roasted and a really nice creamy heavy taste from the bits of fat left on the pork. It also tenderly fell apart as I picked at it with my chopsticks and was perfectly cooked throughout.
Beyond the other toppings which were as expected, their seasoned boiled egg really stood out. Cooked perfectly, and seasoned really well, it was with the chashu the stand out of the dish. The yolk nice and custardy, and the “meat” of the egg nicely salted with a slightly sweet hint behind it.
The noodles themselves were somewhat average, not bad, not great, but right in the middle. They were cooked properly and had a decent flavor, but didn’t really stand out as anything really special.
Now on to my biggest gripe with the dish, the broth. For a tonkotsu broth it was lacking in body and heaviness. It was too clear and didn’t have the heavy, creamy, robust porky flavor that usually is found in a tonkotsu broth. It was seasoned well, with a nice salty finish, so it didn’t taste bad, it was just not what I would call tonkotsu. The hard part is visually it was almost there, having all of the floaty fat and gelatinous bits you would expect.
Given all of that it was still an ok bowl of ramen and if I were in the area again and needed lunch I would stop by Takara. The broth brought this one down for me and as a result I give it a 3 out of 5.
- Dish: Original Tonkotsu Ramen
- Price: $10.50
- Extras: none