Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Ramen California

Ramen California

My husband and I are rarely able to hang out in South Bay until lately when both of us enrolled in a class at Otis out near LAX. Anything by the airport always gives us an excuse to eat in and around the South Bay.

On the day of our class, Dylan was able to get out early and both of us decided to meet at Ramen California at the deep end of Torrance.

Ramen California

Ramen California's chef, Shigetoshi "Sean" Nakamura, came out to greet us. I usually hide in my turtle shell when chefs come out because I personally don't like telling them I have a blog. But we had two dslr's in hand and I'm pretty sure he knew. Anyways, Sean, a very young and creative chef has two established restaurants in Tokyo and his homeken in Kanagawa. So young...that's all I kept thinking!

Ramen California

I am a sucker for anything bread. When I moved to Osaka, I watched my friends lose weight while I gained weight because I was always loitering around all the Japanese bakeries. Japanese are precision people...their bakers are as good as their baseball pitchers. Sean makes a perfect rosemary roll that screams out steamed Chinese bun. I love it. Now throw in a kurobuta pork sausage and you have one nasty pig in a blanket.

Ramen California

Chef suggested we order the fresh flounder carpaccio. Dylan loved it. But I wasn't here for the carpaccio...I was here for the ramen.

Ramen California offers three sizes of ramen. I love when noodle shops offer smaller portions. We decided we wanted to share four small bowls. Of course we wanted more, but we had a lighting class in the next hour and didn't think it was wise to have a bucket of essence broth sloshing in our stomachs while moving equiptment.

Get there early if you want his coveted Reggiano Cheese Tofu Ramen. It sells out. We got there when the restaurant opened for dinner and he was out of cheese tofu. Those selfish lunchers ate all of the cheese tofu. Jerks.

Ramen California

The Californian - signature ramen with over 30 garden vegetables in natural chicken broth.

I recommend starting off with the Californian or the Essence ramen. Why? These are the least mutilated ramens, focusing on the Nakamura's chicken broth. In every slurp, you'll start to move away from the bowls you've had at Santouka and Ippudo. Once you get it, the purity of a chicken broth, you'll start to appreciate the rest of Nakamura's menu.

I heard he's hated at the Torrance Farmer's Market. Nakamura is "that guy" standing by the vegetables inspecting each and every one. The vegetables that appeared in our bowl were flawless.

Ramen California

Ramen California

Heirloom Tomato Ramen with housemade vine-ripened salsa. LOVED IT. The addition of the heirloom salsa added the necessary acidic balance to Nakamura's simple chicken broth. Hot and cold, umami and acid. The heirloom was my definitely my favorite for the day. The Heirloom Tomato Ramen truly showcases Nakamura's passion to integrate California fresh into ramen.

Ramen California

We saved the Marsala Ramen, Nakamura's curry ramen for last. Dylan and I really loved our decision to progress from simple to mean in our hand-crafted tasting menu. The marsala ramen was a great way to end our meal with Ramen California. My only gripe is I wish he offered a spicier version. Onegaishimaaaaaasu!!!

Ramen California
24231 Crenshaw Blvd. #C
Torrance, CA 90505
(310) 530-2749


Phil said...

Your photos are incredible! Nakamura is as talented an artist with this food as you are with your camera.

Just beautiful. Thanks for sharing!

MyLastBite said...

Honestly, Your photos make me want to CRY. Stunning.

weezermonkey said...

Mmm. I am sad to report that I am back on my No White Diet to prevent further pants-splitting.

Oh, ramen. I will miss you.

Pandalicious said...

the heirloom tomato ramen looks sooo good! and healthy!

The Guilty Carnivore said...

Very interesting take on ramen. Though I'm hard pressed to imagine any version that might outshine a well-executed tonkotsu or shoyu, I'm game.

moye said...

i have been dreaming about that salsa since we tried them with his oysters.

i've been trying to figure out how to make it at home! (and by home, i mean, in my head.)

Gastronomer said...

Awesome! I recently read about this place on another food blog. It looks like fusion cuisine is done right at Ramen California! Can't wait to try.

Susan said...

Hi – I like your blog, and wondered if you’d be interested in sharing your opinion on a new project I’m working on. Well, more than a project. We’ve recently started a new company in Silicon Valley (having started a few successful ones before) addressing the local space.

If you or anyone you know with expertise in (blog topic) would be interested in providing early feedback – we are definitely listening.

The site is, The concept is that writing reviews on Yelp is too cumbersome for most people, and too limited in the # of cities it covers. But that if we can make sharing places – any place anywhere in the world – a lot easier, a lot more people could participate. And that would help us all discover more great places.

We’ve just released the site, it’s an experiment and – well, any opinion would be accepted (you can email me thoughts, or post them anonymously on the feedback link).

Thanks, and great blog.

-- Susan

Tricerapops said...

great photos. i'm with Guilty Carnivore, i'm a bit of a skeptic with regards to the chicken broth, but maybe my palate just isn't saavy enough to appreciate it? i mean, the only way to figure it out would be to try, right?

boody said...

NICE!!!! Man, everything looks so good, Jeni!!!

Wesley said...

Wow. The ramen looks delicious.

Let me be the first to say - neither you or your husband need to take lighting classes. Your photos are stunning as always.

- Wesley

Jill said...

I love LOVE LOVVVVEEE that your post went up the same day there was a write-up in the LA Times on Ramen California. Your photos outdid their story by a long shot. Well done!

Renée said...

Now I know what the first stop will be should I visit LA any time soon. Thanks for the tip!

Oh and I'm with you re: bread and all the delicious finds in Japan. I was that girl who found more excitement in the Department store food shows or the bakeries than clothing stores (ok, maybe not, but equal time = lots). I miss the Hokkaido milk bread and the melon buns the most!

edjusted said...

Wow, gorgeous pics! Now I want a bowl of ramen for dinner!

Jen said...

I've been wanting to try this place out!!! now i'm going to have to drag my whole family there to try it!!

Andrew said...

Nice information...

Thank you very much...

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Yumi said...

Wow, yum...don't suppose you'd have any recommendations for a ramen place in Manhattan? I'm moving there in August for school and I'm looking for a list of restaurants to check out while I'm there.


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