When it comes to handmade Japanese noodles, Los Angeles is home to a few hotbeds. From Sawtelle's Little Osaka to Little Tokyo to the South Bay, more than a few restaurants are slinging hand-rolled Japanese ramen, soba and everything in between. With Musashiya, the unlikely neighborhood of Westwood now gets some of the action.
Located in the former Top N One Ramen Express, Musashiya keeps the noodle legacy going, this time focusing on the thicker, chewy udon. But it's not just that hungry college kids have another place to chow down on carbs between midterms; Musashiya specializes in house-made, prepared-to-order udon that should be notable to any Angeleno looking for authentic Japanese noodles.
Musashiya's noodles are made simply — with flour, salt and water, the dough left to rest overnight before being rolled in the morning. The dough then goes through an aging period until it's ready to be cut, boiled and served. This process is tweaked daily depending on sitting temperatures and humidity levels in the air, so that the noodles you're slurping are always of smooth of texture, elastic but with a firmness.
The restaurant is made up of a bar that wraps around the far wall of the space with high-top chairs, and long communal tables that run down the middle. Covered by nothing more than a glass pane, the noodle-making station is open to diners so you can watch your udon being made. The noodles are then served hot or cold.
Mainly serving dipping udon — similar in style and influenced by tsukemen dipping ramen and soba — Musashiya offers udon miso tsuke–style (with miso and sesame broth and the traditional accoutrements of bamboo shoots, nori, boiled egg, chasu and curry powder), niku tsuke–style (with a rich, beef-topped beef broth) and soy tan-tan tsuke (a spicy soy milk–based sauce with tan-tan style noodles).
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In line with some of the wilder, modern udon trends, Musashiya also offers a creamy egg-and-ham–laden carbonara udon and an egg-drop udon with spicy cod roe. For the udon purists out there, Musahsiya covers the bases with classics such as niku udon, wakame udon and the smoky, bonito-rife, dashi-based classic Japanese soul food, kake udon.
Beyond noodles, you'll also find appetizers and simple side dishes of karaage chicken, dried soft squid tempura, yam and okra, tofu and hand rolls.
Musashiya opens Oct. 28 with a buy-one-get-one-free promotion, as well as a $10 gift certificate to the first 20 people to dine each day through Oct. 31.
1049 Gayley Ave., Westwood; (310)-208-5999; musashiya.tokyo.