Do we need more good ramen shops in Los Angeles? Always. Thanks to another opening tip from the appropriately named Rameniac, we learned of Yamadaya, which began service in Torrance at the end of July. Yamadaya is not a trendy noodle vendor with a sleek interior design, but rather a simple, tiny space with a few tables and a counter. All of the focus, it seems, has been put on the food itself.
Yamadaya comes from owner Jin Yamada, who previously owned Jingo, a Japanese BBQ spot in Encino. He decided on opening a ramen restaurant because "ramen is popular," and wouldn't require the expenses of, say, buying a grill for each table.
Yamada, who has been living in the United States for the past three years, travels frequently back to Japan, where he also owns real estate, and a stock photo business. "I have many chances to eat ramen every month, and I wanted to bring ramen to Los Angeles, because ramen in Japan is very different."
When asked about the source of his recipes, Yamada was not entirely forthcoming. "I have many friends who are ramen chefs in Japan, so I got recipes." The chef who offered Yamada his recipes even came to Los Angeles to help open the restaurant, then returned to Japan. When pressed for the name of the chef, Yamada told us that it must be kept a secret, but that the chef is a very well known, with 30 years of experience, and operates a restaurant in Kyūshū.
Yamadaya serves two main styles of ramen; a tonkotsu (pork bone) broth, similar to the Kyūshū style; and a tonkotsu shoyu (pork and soy sauce) which is popular in Tokyo. Yamada recommends that patrons use their thicker noodle for the tonkotsu shoyu, and their thinner noodle for the tonkotsu. They also serve a tsukemen ramen, in which you dip cold noodles into hot broth. In addition, and perhaps attempting to cater to a wider clientele, Yamada serves some non-ramen, such as teriyaki chicken and breaded pork cutlet (tonkatsu).
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Yamadaya is currently open six days a week, but plans to be open on Sundays in the next two weeks.
Ramen Yamadaya: 3118 W. 182nd St., Torrance, (310) 380-5555. Open Mon.-Fri., 11:30 a.m.-3 p.m., 5 p.m.-8:30 p.m.; Sat., 11:30 a.m.-8:30 p.m.