Saturday, March 12, 2011

Mottainai Ramen

Lucy looks to see what ramen she wants.

Al and Polly lately have been raving about a new ramen place in Gardena. Knowing that I'm a fan of a good ramen and that we have no ramen to speak of in Baltimore, they insisted on bringing us there. Of course, I'm only too happy to comply.

Located in the very Japanese marketplace not too far from the 110 Freeway (and the Hustler Casino), Mottainai Ramen is modern, bright and Japanese all the way. The staff is friendly and the ceiling reaching flames that come from the toasting of miso (I think) is very reassuring.

Melon Creamy Soda - kind of like bubblegum.

While the focus is on the ramen, there's a handwritten sign advertising their Mini Curry Bowl. I had to investigate.

The curry is traditional Japanese style though a little on the thick side. It's creamy and delicious as a proper Japanese curry should be with generous slices of chicken and fluffy white rice underneath. Excellent

The ramen broth sample tray.

Without a doubt, Mottainai is about ramen. So serious are they that they are only too willing to bring out a broth sample tray where you can taste their four broths to choose from. Miso, shoyu and two types of Yokohama broths compete for your attention but the miso is clearly the champion and the choice of the table.

After a complimentary side of chasu that's thinly sliced and oh so delicate, our ramen arrives. Mine comes with medium boiled egg with a runny yolk that adds extra flavor and texture to the ramen, along with a generous helping of corn butter. Yum!

Curry Mini Bowl.

Shake, shake, shake goes the little togarashi pepper shaker and I'm off to ramen heaven. The broth is delicious and everything is just right - except that I find the noodles to be on the toothy side without that usual chewiness that I prefer in a ramen noodle. Al and Polly assure me that this is an oddity because the noodles are usually more chewy. I believe them.

Whatever the case, the broth and extras are delicious and I make a note that I must revisit Mottainai on my next visit - just to be sure.

A side of char siu, compliments of the chef.

Miso Ramen with egg and corn butter.

Mottainai Ramen
1630 W Redondo Beach Blvd Ste 9
Gardena, CA 90247

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