Fans of the the uber-rich tonkotsu ramen soup made by
Gardena's Torrance's Ramen Yamadaya will welcome their northward expansion into Culver City this Saturday, August 27. We stopped by yesterday to take some spy photos of the new digs, where seating capacity grows to 54, compared to 22 at the shoebox-like Torrance store.
The big news is beer, sake and wine will be served at the new restaurant to go with your gyoza. Torrance manager Tony informs us that the selection is still being finalized, but to expect some unusual sake options.
Yamadaya offers two kinds of noodles: a thinner, more traditional noodle, or a thicker style more similar to a pan-fried yakisoba noodle. Additionally, you can reinforce their already-rich, pork-bone broth even further by asking for the deluxe kotteri soup, if you're the sort who wears a "Pork Fat Rules" t-shirt to your cardiologist's office.
Kotteri means that some of the golden lard and tiny niblets of semi-liquefied pork back fat skimmed from the giant stock pots are added back atop your soup. Here, a squirt of ground black sesame fortifies the slick of animal fat lubricating your noodle of choice. We should clarify that the photo above shows a slice of simmered pork belly, called kakuni, added a la carte to upgrade the usual slice of chashu that comes with the base-model kotteri ramen.
During the soft-open, the kitchen will 86 a few of the washoku items (i.e. the X + rice lunch plates), and focus on their acclaimed tonkotsu ramen. According to Tony, the menu will eventually expand to include Japanese beer snacks now that they have a liquor license and a little more room for their guests to linger.
For now, the hours will remain the same as the Torrance location with the customary break between lunch service and dinner. Tony informs us that they may stay open as late as midnight if the business picks up. With only a handful of good late-night options in this part of town, we suspect that might happen sooner than they think.
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Ramen Yamadaya: 11172 Washington Blvd., Culver City; (310) 815-8776. ramen-yamadaya.com. Open for lunch 11:30 a.m. - 2 p.m. Dinner 5:30 p.m. - 9 p.m.