I told myself I’d never use the word.
I considered it pretentious, devoid of creativity and as over played as the Black Eyed Peas “Tonight’s Going To Be a Good Night.”
I hated it – and cringed whenever I saw it used in a review.
“That’ll never see the light of day on my blog,” I thought, my nose tucked up in the air in haughty disapproval.
Yet on Saturday night, as I soothe my “Eat My Blog” bake sale wounds with a bowl of Spicy Miso Ramen luxuriously accented with long strips of broth-saturated pork belly, the word keeps popping up in my head.
There’s no other way to describe the ramen ($11) I’m enjoying at BREADBAR in West Hollywood for Chefs Kazuo Shimamura and Noriyuki Sugie's “Yatai Ramen Twist” pop-up restaurant concept. No other way to encapsulate the experience of slurping up the fragrant broth thickened with pork fat and remnants of gelatinous egg yolk. The flavor of the blended miso, spicy sauce and yuzu is visceral, pungent – not to be ignored – but “rich” isn’t the right word.
“Rich” is taxing. It’s fettuccini alfredo, truffle macaroni and cheese or a cheeseburger smothered in aioli and bacon. Chef Shimamura’s ramen is assertive, but light on the tongue – it shimmies down the throat with the ease of a summer white wine. It can stand alone or with the loose mass of al dente ramen noodles, and accompanying poached egg, Kurobuta pork belly, nori, bamboo shoots, and kikurage (mushrooms), and Tokyo negi (Japanese leeks).
It penetrates the soul.
It awakens the senses.
It renders pork fat phobic girls with pink blogs and an intolerance for spice silent with satisfaction.
I won’t say it again. But I will be back for another bowl of "it" before the series is over on July 24th.
“Yatai Ramen Twist” at BREADBAR
8718 W. Third Street
Los Angeles, CA 90024
Mondays – Saturdays, 5 – 10 pm through July 24th