Jinya Ramen Bar - Studio City, CA (Los Angeles)
Ramen. How I love ramen. Let me count the ways. I love ramen in Austin. I love ramen in Denver. I love ramen in LA. I suppose that would be given considering the LA food scene. I expect good ramen, scratch that, GREAT ramen to come easy. Remember in my previous post how some things remind me of home? Ramen is on that list. Even though I never had ramen when I lived in LA, there's something comforting and homey about it. And I love it. I crave it. It was the one thing I wanted and my friend Tian Tian (for the record, the panda was named after her, not the other way around!) came up with a fantastic place to satisfy my craving with Jinya.
Jinya is located in a small shopping mall that has plenty of underground parking and stores in case you need to walk off your dinner like we did. I didn't realize there's also a Jinya in Austin along with various places in the US and Canada. I started with a small salad and we shared the caramelized cauliflower. The salad was the perfect starter. It was light with a refreshing dressing. I loved the cauliflower too. It was roasted, toasted and full of flavor. I especially liked the added crunch and flavor from the pine nuts.
Typically when I go somewhere for the first time I want to try everything. This was no exception. If Japanese curry is on the menu, I'm ordering it. Japanese curry is thicker and sweeter than curry you'll find at a Thai or Indian restaurant. I've bought curry powder to make it at home, but it's not the same. Jinya's curry is the real deal and was absolutely delicious. You can order it as a side or a bigger bowl all by itself. You can't go wrong either way.
Finally the main event arrived, in record time I must add. I ordered the chef special, which was the Tokyo Tonkotsu Ramen. It's available for a limited time and I usually go for those kinds of specials. When am I going to get another chance to try it? It was the perfect bowl of ramen that I was looking for. The broth was thick, but not too creamy. The pork was tender and, let's be honest, it's pork. If you're a pork fan, you would have love it. The noodles were tender with a good bite. The best thing about this ramen was the egg. Sometimes it's as much about the egg as it is the broth. It was perfectly soft boiled and actually served cold in the soup. There was something delightful about the contrast between the hot soup and the cold egg. Delicious!
Jinya Ramen Bar should make it to your bucket list. If you get there by 2/28/17 you can try the special I had. Get there early or be prepared to wait during peak meal times and possibly engage in some retail therapy. If you're going with non-ramen fans, (1) make them see the error of their ways and (2) have them check out other options like mini tacos and various small plates.
See you next week when I tell you about my attempt to recreate The Boiling Crab at home in the midst of a eat-healthy challenege.