At MTN, Travis Lett's new Abbot Kinney izakaya, the ramen is almost a thing unto itself, so much a product of its time and place that it's hard to compare it to other ramen. Lett and his crew have managed to make something based in Japanese tradition but rooted in Southern California. For their beautiful, ludicrously priced pork ramen, they cook down the bones and head of a whole Peads & Barnetts pig — but rather than a thick, milky tonkotsu broth, this version is much, much lighter, yet still manages to pack an incredible amount of pork flavor into each sip. The bowl comes with komatsuna (mustard spinach), fermented black bean paste and pickled Fresno chilies. There's a clam version that tastes so purely of the ocean it borders on magical. The ramen noodles, which have a chewy, firm structural integrity, are made in-house from artisanal wheat and buckwheat. That it's served in the trendiest, most fun new restaurant in the neighborhood makes it all the more exciting.
Credit: Anne Fishbein