Jinya Ramen Express: SPICY MISO TONKOTSU (LA)

Address: 6801 Hollywood Blvd #317, Los Angeles, CA 90028

Website: http://jinya-ramenbar.com

Ramen: Spicy Miso Tonkotsu with Egg & Black Garlic Oil

Price: $12

REVIEW: Choose your broth! Choose your noodle! Choose your topping! If someone told me that there was decent fast food Ramen out there I would have laughed, I did laugh but then they told me it was a Jinya joint and I said “I’m in”. Jinya Ramen Express is exactly how it sounds, your Ramen, their quality, done quickly and I gotta admit, it’s pretty tasty. I went for the Spicy Miso Tonkotsu broth (thick, rich, flavorful), the thin noodles, extra green onion & cilantro (fresh flavors), ground pork (love the texture), corn (my fave), black garlic oil (an extra level of rich flavor) and some additional spice paste (to kick the whole thing up a notch). To top it all off, they do a killer Egg! I was shocked at how well and how quickly it all came together, the multitude of flavors were all great, anchored by a solid multi-leveled, tasty broth. I would highly recommend this Express Ramen bar and I will definitely return next time I am in Hollywood!

Score: rating_3

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Nishiazabu-Gogyo: Burnt Miso Ramen (Tokyo)

For my second Tokyo ramen adventure, Brad took me to a little place called GOGYO. Located in the Nishiazabu District, this place focusses on Soy and Miso ramen rather than Tonkotsu while offering a few other choices as well. This is the place that Brad says he can “only eat at once in a while as the flavor is too much, its too bold, too powerful but so tasty”. Wow, I have to try this!!!

Little known tidbit of into but the owner of IPPUDO also owns this place but there are only two of them making GOGYO that much more rare. The three of us were seated quickly and quickly ordered some appies: Ramen Pocky (Deep friend ramen noodles dusted with ramen spices), Tofu Hotpot (cubed tofu and a hot & spicy sauce) and Gyoza (bite-sized and similar in taste to the Ippudo Gyoza). All three appies were excellent and just got me hungrier for the main event. I ordered the Kogashi Miso-Men or “Burnt Miso Ramen” while Brad & Drake ordered the Burnt Soy Ramen. Get that ramen in my belly!

A large black bowl arrived filled with a steaming black broth, wow, what a striking visual. The thin noodles and chashu pork were submerged in this inky black broth, only the stark white of the half egg & fish cake were visible above the blackness. Under the broth I also found ground pork and mushrooms so I mixed it all together and went for my first bite!

Wow… wow, wow, wow!

I can honestly say that this is the most uniquely flavored ramen I have had yet. Rich, salty, strong miso but delicate finish, this truly was a completely different flavor than I was used to. Also, while I an not usually a fan of thinner noodles, I found that they complimented the Burnt Miso broth, seeing the black broth and bits of fat & pork clinging to those noodles as you slurp them up was a great visual. The chashu was fresh and delicate but I was really pleased with the ground pork as it added a lovely flavor and texture addition to each bite. Also, I commend them on the temperature of their ramen, it was damn hot, the way a proper ramen should be served.

Overall, while startled with the unique flavor, I quite enjoyed it. I wouldn’t want to eat it every week but once in a while it would be a welcome flavor change. GOGYO is definitely worthy of a try but be prepared for something different, tasty, but different.

Burnt Miso Ramen

Dish: Kogashi Miso-men (Burnt Miso Ramen)
Location: Nishiazabu-Gogyo
Address: 106-0031 Tokyo, Minato, Nishiazabu, 1-4-36
Price ¥880
Rating: rating_4
Website: http://www.ramendining-gogyo.com/

Momiji: Spicy Miso Ramen w. Sweet Corn

The last thing you expect to find in the local strip mall is decent ramen but that’s exactly what happened to me one Saturday when I had to go to Target. Lo and behold, there lies MOMIJI RAMEN and despite its location, it’s a tasty bowl of goodness.

A few months ago, this was a family run Taqueria but now it’s all black and streamlined, focussed on bowls of noodles and I for one like the change. Momiji offers four types of broth either regular or spicy: Tonkotsu, Miso, Shoyu (soy sauce), Shio (salt) and Soy Milk. Each bowl comes with Chasu, green onions, kikurge-mushroom, bean sprouts and a soft-boiled egg. Additional toppings included the usual suspects like corn, kimchee, butter or bamboo for $1 or more adventurous toppings like Kakuni, Gyoza, Tori or Karaage for $2. I went with the Spicy Miso Ramen and added corn. I opted to have the delicious Karaage as an appetizer.

Within the usual 10 minutes I was presented with a rather large bowl of goodness. All in all, great presentation, vibrant colors, loads of texture and all of it swimming in a rich, red broth. The Veggies were fresh, the egg a winner and the corn added a nice sweetness to the spiciness of the broth. My issues were minimal, the pork while tasty, didn’t seem fresh to me, in fact it felt like yesterday’s pork. The “extra spicy” wasn’t spicy at all and I had to ask for extra chili sauce, finally the noodles, while abundant weren’t outstanding in flavor.  It was a decent bowl of ramen, large in size and with a good but not amazing overall flavor.

I will definitely visit MOMIJI again, the convenience of being a 10 minute drive from my house, the size of the ramen and the friendly staff make this spot worthy of a repeat visit.

Momiji

  • Dish: Spicy Miso Ramen
  • Price: $9.99
  • Extras: Sweet Corn: $1.00
  • Rating: rating_3