If you spend a lot of time driving around the SGV trolling for ramen shops, as some of us do, mainly because driving to Torrance or Gardena at dinnertime isn't as much fun as it should be, you may have noticed a place called Kosuke. No, it's not a baseball card emporium (see: Kosuke Fukudome, once an All-Star for the Chicago Cubs and currently an outfielder for the Hanshin Tigers), but a ramen shop.
Kosuke has many things on its menu, including both ramen and udon — which is nice for those scared off by massive doses of pork — curry rice and rice bowls, gyoza and agadashi tofu and plates of tonkatsu. But what makes Kosuke most worth checking out is the popcorn chicken. Because not only will you find the hefty chunks of fried chicken on rice bowls and in curry rice, but in bowls of ramen. Probably enough said.
The popcorn chicken ramen is a happy vat of pleasantly spicy broth, nicely chewy noodles of the thin and curly variety, and loaded with, you guessed it, lots of popcorn chicken. Imagine a frat boy dinner mashup of packaged noodles, KFC and Sriracha, then notch it up quite a bit and you get the idea. Eat it fast, so everything doesn't get soggy. This will not be a problem for many of you.
Open for the last two or three years, Kosuke was for five years before that a drinks place called Quickly. And although they'd been serving noodles with the boba before the transition, the owners converted the space into a sit-down restaurant.
The other iterations of ramen are many: tonkotsu ramen, vegetable ramen, spicy ramen, and the kuro ramen, dosed with “black oil,” noodles and paper-thin slices of chashu that were a bit too reminiscent of lunchmeat for those of us overly fond of grilled, thick pork belly. Toppings include corn, tonsatsu, that popcorn chicken and the usual ramen accoutrements. Oh, and you can order french fries too for truly one stop frat boy shopping.
For dessert, you can order mochi and green tea ice cream, but also taiyaki, those very cute fish-shaped red bean paste-filled cakes you'll find in Japan's street stalls and bakeries. All in all, a fun place to put on your L.A. ramen map. It's pretty cheap, has a terrific variety, is a lot closer for the SGV crowd than Torrance — and proves that a lot of mashups are a hell of a lot better than waffle tacos.
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