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


Takara Ramen Bar: Original Tonkotsu Ramen

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.

– Matt

  • Dish: Original Tonkotsu Ramen
  • Price: $10.50
  • Extras: none
  • Rating: rating_3