I don’t know if I (or anyone else) would dare choose a ramen place other than Tsujita with a clear conscience or within walking distance, but it is certainly understandable when the wait for tsukemen is over half an hour and you only have an hour for lunch. And that was exactly the case with coworker Han and I over a couple of months ago. Made the mistake of getting to Sawtelle after noon, and there were 10+ parties waiting for a table. So we walked across the street to try Miyata Menji, with plenty of tables available.
Miyata Menji is a weird place. An import of a shop in Tokyo owned by a famous Japanese comedian, they offer a tonkotsu ramen and a tsukemen. Standard right? Anything but – the tonkotsu ramen is served with teriyaki beef and tomatoes. And the tsukemen, which we both ordered, was even more out of the ordinary – a thick broth full of anchovy flavor and topped with croutons, and the dipping noodles were topped with cabbage and… Parmesan cheese. Funky x2.
Maybe it’s all a big joke from the comedian himself, but the tsukemen was actually not bad. In fact, it was pretty good. One had to really get over the hump of thinking how weird the ingredients are for ramen, or how funky that anchovy-laced broth is, but as a fusion-esque ramen it works. Not my preferred preparation of ramen, and not really a destination lunch spot, but if that wait for Tsujita is indeed too long, and “ramen” is still on my mind, then crossing the street certainly doesn’t seem like a bad idea.
Note: it appears the restaurant is currently closed indefinitely for “renovations.” Doesn’t look good…
Chris Hei grade: B
2050 Sawtelle Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90025