Ben and I were going to visit the new location of Ramen Yamadaya on Westwood Blvd a couple of weeks ago after playing basketball nearby, but they closed at 9pm. So where better to visit than the main branch in Culver City (I know it’s not their first location, but this one seems to be their most prominent one now). Ramen was a good choice that night, as it was ridiculously cold. It appeared that everyone had the same idea as us, as the place was packed so late, but luckily we only had a wait a couple of minutes.
I had just begun my new diet/exercise plan early of 2012 resolutions, but I couldn’t resist being a fatty. Not only did I get the kakuni ramen with the big ass piece of pork belly (which looked like an eel slithering in the bowl – see below), I got it kotteri-style with extra pork fat. Chris Hei, fatty fatty fat fat (or in Chris Hei online speak, fatty^2 fat^2). It was a satisfying bowl of ramen. Very satisfying, in fact. However, if I were to be more objective, I do think that both the broth and the noodle fall short of my two standards of Ramen – Santouka and Jinya.
Let’s start with the broth. There was a drizzle of black sesame oil, to indicate it being kotteri, over the seemingly very milky-looking broth. The broth itself, however, was rather mild, at least compared to the two places I mentioned above. Still very good, but not as much development in flavor in my opinion. But there was a pronounced porkiness in the broth. As far as noodles were concerned, it was below those two places as well. A bit too hard, almost along the lines of instant noodles-dry. Still soaked up the broth pretty well though. And that big piece of pork belly was just delicate, but like with the broth, was a bit more mild than I had expected. Didn’t make me feel any better about eating such a huge piece.
I’m just nitpicking here, because the ramen at Yamadaya was very satisfying. And I do plan on visiting many more times in the future, especially since the new location is so close to me. But it does, to me, only take the bronze medal as far as the ramen Olympics in LA are concerned.
Chris Hei grade: B
11172 Washington Blvd
Culver City, CA 90230