Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Yatai Ramen Twist: A ramen by any other name...

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.

It's “unctuous.”

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
(310) 205-0124

Mondays – Saturdays, 5 – 10 pm through July 24th


Gastronomer said...

I'm so proud of you for taking the pork fat/spicy plunge. And so happy that you LOVED it. You'll see, D -- PORK IS THE BEST!

weezermonkey said...

I always think of "unctuous" as a rather Dickensian term, better suited toward unsavory characters rather than fatty pork broth. ;)

Nomsnotbombs said...

I am terrified of the pig's feet gyoza, but this sounds delicious! Mmm pork fat...

Leandro said...

Nice review. Mmm, looks good and great shots! Looking forward to trying it out as well.

Kung Food Panda said...

Looks great! I hope to try it myself soon D! :)

stuffycheaks said...

OMG it looks so good, Im going to have a tough time trying to pick between this or the foie ramen when I'm there in a couple weeks.

Alessandra said...

Next, you'll be using the word, "toothsome." It's a slippery slope, my friend!

Esi said...

Dear Diana,

I'd like to go back..with you.

Love, Esi

Anna A. said...

Count me in on the second bowl, TALF!

Diana said...

Cathy - I'm proud of me too! I felt like a liberated woman!

Weez - Haha, hmmm maybe I should start describing the waiters who glare at me when I quiz them about the menu as such. ;)

Misty - ME TOO! Especially when Cathy found a toe in her gyoza.

Leandro - I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

Danny - I can't wait to hear what you think!

Stephanie - I can't report on the foie, but that spicy miso... gaaah! So good!

Alessandra - The day I use "toothsome" is the day that I stop liking pink.

Dear Esi, I'd like to go back with you too. Love, Diana

Anna - There's a veggie one that sounds awesome if you aren't feeling in the mood for something porkolicious.

burumun said...

Was that the spicy miso ramen?
I'm going there tonight! Hopefully my experience will be as good as yours, I guess since the menu changes regularly it's not always as good? *crossing fingers*