October 10, 2012
It’s been just over a year since I started my ramen blog. At least six new ramen shops have opened in LA since then (a far cry from the one-a-day that are said to open in Tokyo, but still). I’ve learned more about soup than I could have ever imagined, I started learning Japanese, and I went to Japan. All these things happened because of ramen.
Now, finally, there is a ramen shop in my very own neighborhood. I went to Silverlake Ramen on opening day and was lucky enough to also meet up with one of my ramen heroes, Rameniac, for the first time.
The interior is clean and simple, seating around 30 or so patrons at a time. I think we were the second group of people inside, though by the end of our dinner there was a small wait. I’ve been thinking about how well a ramen shop on the east side of LA would do for quite some time. I would love to open up my own someday. Especially a Jiro-kei one, or a proper miso shop.
But anyhow, I figured that due to the lack of competition, as long as a ramen shop on this side of town was halfway decent it would be successful, so I was pleased to find out Silverlake Ramen is much more than halfway decent. This is one of the better bowls of tonkotsu ramen in the city! I went in with low expectations, especially since they had been open for just one hour, but they’re already firing on all cylinders.
The noodles were pleasantly chewy, if ever so slightly soft. They were served with bean sprouts, spinach, green onion, a sheet of nori and a couple slices of chashu. The latter were top notch. I added an excellently-cooked soft boiled egg and crushed garlic on the side, which wasn’t even necessary once the first sip sealed the deal. The broth is thick, sweet in a warm piggy way (trust me, that’s a compliment) and great at sticking to the medium-thick noodles. It was slightly too salty but I’ll forgive them.
No, this isn’t as good as Tsujita, though they’re definitely taking cues from the Sawtelle shop. But it’s a better tonkotsu than most anything else in LA.
I didn’t think about it at the time, but the spinach/nori combo, combined with the shoyu tonkotsu broth, could mean this is ie-kei (Yokohama style) ramen (as I wrote about previously). Usually, but not always, an ie-kei shop has three sheets of nori… but most non-ie-kei ramen does not have spinach by default. I will have to ask the owners next time I’m in.
Grow out your mustache, put on suspenders, hit up a show at The Echo and end the night at Silverlake Ramen.
2927 W. Sunset Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90026
*Will dreams of Tokyo but currently downs his ramen in Los Angeles. When he’s not hunched over a bowl of tonkotsu or tending his garden you can find him playing shows around town with his band. This post was originally published in The Ramen Shaman.