Soon it will be gone, and so will you
Soon it will be gone, and so will you
Flickr user clumsylady

Get In Get Out Noodles at Ramenya

It would be unfair to label Ramenya minimalist; this suggests deliberate aesthetic intent. Rather, Ramenya is designed for maximum turnover, a utilitarian white box with cramped tables, fluorescent lamps brighter than a thousand flat panel TVs and a kitchen that seems to deliver your meal before you finish ordering it.

The sterile digs and the restaurant's puzzling exile three blocks west of the noodle-intensive Sawtelle strip have done little to dampen its popularity. Arrive before 6:30 p.m. or be prepared to wait outside, chin glued to your chest to avoid the grit kicked up by the traffic crush on Olympic Boulevard.

Conditions improve once you find a seat. There is complimentary iced barley tea, and Ramenya adheres to the Ripley's Believe It or Not! school of portion control. Noodles--whether hot, cold, fried yakisoba-style or spiked with extras like fermented bamboo shoot, frizzled scallions or kimchi--arrive in bowls the size of garden birdbaths. They're toothsome and satisfyingly wheaty, nested in a serviceable, well-lubricated broth, albeit lacking the cashmere-like sultriness of a bowl at Santouka or Daikokuya. Nevertheless, Ramenya offers some of heartiest meals to be had for under 10 bucks on the ocean-side of the 405, and there are nearly 30 varieties to choose from. Recommended are Jya-Jya Men, cold noodles lathered with miso and tossed with minced pork, Tenshin Men with shrimp and egg and the lighter Sansai Ramen with Japanese mountain vegetable.

Ramenya:11555 W. Olympic Boulevard, Los Angeles; 310-575-9337.


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