Saturday, July 8, 2017

The Best Ramen Bowls in LA #5: Tsujita LA

After hearing about this place from multiple people, reading about it on Discover LA's Best Ramen Bowls in LA, and then dreaming about it, I finally made the opportunity to try the "best ramen" in LA.  I arrived for a late lunch in at Tsujita LA in Sawtelle, as I waited to pick up a friend from LAX.  When I arrived at 2:10pm, there was still a line and the line for Tsujita Annex was even longer.  I was seated within ten minutes of my arrival even though the restaurant was full.

I ordered the Hakata Nagahama Tonkotsu Charsui Ramen, which came with green onions, woodear mushrooms and a seasoned soft boiled egg with hard noodles as always.  When that bowl first came out, the first thing I noticed was the smell.  It was an overwhelming wave of pork bones, pork, garlic and an earthy smell of the mushrooms.  It was glorious.  I knew it would be an amazing bowl just from that first smell.  The broth was intense, and was like nothing I've ever had in a bowl of ramen before.  It was thick and silky and was almost like a consistency of gravy.  It was so rich and deep, drinking it was like letting yourself drown in it.  There was a bit of nuttiness from the noodles, which were thin hakata style that also had a bit of saltiness cooked into it.  Because of the thick broth, each bite of noodles had soup clinging on to it that made the consumption of it so much more pleasurable.  The contrast in texture with the mushrooms provided a satisfying crunch that helped provide variance in the experience.  The pork itself was standard, wasn't too soft but had a great bite.  It didn't wow me like the rest of the bowl, which made sense as the broth it self lived in a meaty pork taste.  The seasoned egg was done perfectly and was also very silky and had a sweet yolky center that provided not only a complimentary flavor profile, but also added a bit of brightness to the dish.  While the broth was a bit oily, the green onion helped contrast that by cutting through it and adding a crisp and clean taste to the bite.  All in all, it makes sense why writers like Jonathan Gold claim this restaurant to have the best ramen.  The flavors are intense and deservedly so, the broth is amazing and the contrast in both flavors and textures help bring this bowl all together.  I'm dying to return and have their tsukemen which I hear is a whole other experience.  You can find their restaurant at 2057 Sawtelle Blvd.

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