In Los Angeles, the words “ramen” and “Westside” are rarely uttered in one breath. While this part of town is suitable for cupcakes, macrobiotics, and all manner of fine dining, it’s Torrance and Little Tokyo that reign supreme when it comes to serious noodle slurping. That is until chefs Kazuo Shimamura and Noriyuki Sugie of Ironnori Concepts popped up at Breadbar at West Third.
Inspired by Japanese yatai (mobile shops) that cater to working men, “Yatai Ramen” is a temporary restaurant that will be occupying Breadbar’s space from Monday to Saturday, 5 to 10 PM, until July 24. The Astronomer and I, along with our friends Diana Takes a Bite and G-Ma, stopped in for a comforting bite after a long day of hawking sweets at the Eat My Blog charity bake sale. Working women need to be well fueled too, you know.
We were surprised with a basket of Breadbar breads as we perused the menu. The turmeric loaf drew me in with its intriguingly yellow hue.
With only eight varieties of ramen and two types of gyoza on offer, the focused menu was easy to navigate. To start, we shared an order each of the pig feet (left) and kale gyozas ($8 each). Both were served with the same gussied up soy sauce. From the crisp, golden sear to the well-seasoned fillings, these gyozas went down deliciously easy.
When it came time to choose my main noodle, I was tempted by the foie gras ramen with chopped chives ($18), but settled on the spicy miso ramen ($11). The bowl arrived steaming hot and brimming with Kurobuta pork belly, nori (seaweed), bamboo shoots, kikurage (woodear mushrooms), Tokyo negi (Japanese Leeks), a poached egg, and a hefty serving of curly noodles. As an extra spicy touch, the chef swiped a special yuzu chili paste on the bowl’s rim. The ramen’s flavors and textures were bright, bold, and undeniably satisfying. This noodle soup was soulful.
Seasoned with Indonesian sea salt and corn butter, The Astronomer’s shio ramen ($10) was equally fabulous. Before the corn butter melted into the warm broth, I managed to eat a chopstick-full of it along with a few noodles. It was a heavenly bite.
Our meal at Yatai Ramen was nothing short of wonderful. It turns out that delicious ramen can be found on the Westside, if only for a limited time.
Breadbar at West Third
8718 W. 3rd Street
Los Angeles, CA 90048