I'm trying to get over a bad cold which almost canceled my drive up today. But I finally gathered myself as best I could and took off last minute figuring maybe some nourishment of hot tasty unctuous ramen would benefit me. With my scraggliness though I just hoped I didn't run into anyone I knew.. haha.
So I want to officially say here that I'm over the whole Mitsuwa Fair ramen ticket stub thing.. I was there today and maybe it was that I couldn't face another embarrassing rejection from the servers, I just didn't even bother asking. **But it did give me an idea while waiting in line... Like how a Ramen Stamp/Stub Rally would be so cool. Collect enough from different shops and win a T-shirt, towel, a gold plated renge spoon (haha), whatever. Obviously there'll be details to work out but I think it'll be really fun. :)
On a much more practical side (to silly stubs), portions have really come around this time to be able to say it was a good full-fledged single serving. More later.
I'm going to quickly post on Yamadaya in Torrance tonight instead because I know I won't be able to wrap up the 2010 Fall Mitsuwa Umaimono Fair. All I can say is I thought both Tsujita and Nantsuttei delivered really exceptional bowls! At Torrance, Ichiro Furuya of Nantsuttei was even serving each order to customers himself. So awesome. At Costa Mesa, Tsujita was serving up one with wonderful complex flavors and aromas that reminded me to tell people To Please Try Slurping! I was the only one making any sound. ;) Tomorrow, Sunday will be the last day of this fair.
So anyhow back to Yamadaya. I read Rameniac's review on Yamadaya in Torrance a couple weeks back and was really intrigued by the casual tonkotsu ramen producing establishment that was flanked between a MacDonald's and Burger King. The scoop was that Yamadaya's killer app would be a wonderful close to true rendition of a Hakata-style tonkotsu ramen with a choice of mild or rich soup, thick or thin noodles. But what I thought was neat was that they offered lunch plates such as Chicken/Pork Katsu, Teriyaki __, Karaage, Panko Fried Fish.
I just found the So. Cal. adaptation charming and particularly irresistible for a visit. Will have to get the set with potato salad next time.. ;) And Junichi, if you're reading thanks for the reminder again too!
I chose the thin noodles with the richer soup. (Full menu here.) While I'm still learning the idiosyncrasies between a Hakata and Kumamoto-style Tonkotsu, you can get the black kuro ma-yu version here. Pair it with the thicker noodles and lighter soup, you've got yourself a Kumamoto(?). Maybe some experts can chime in.
There was a subtle sheen of light rendered oils on top and the soup was quite solid. For me not too weak or on the contrary overly rich. Menma marinated bamboo shoots (sometimes called shinachiku if you want to be old school) crunchy, minced green onions and wood ear kikurage mushrooms always welcomed. The egg was ever so slightly undercooked even for a hanjyuku (some of the whites were a bit runny) but was quite yolk-a-licious.
I thought the chashu was nice too. I only wished for more but I was limited to my choices with the lack of cash I had on me. (Yamadaya is cash only.)
Then halfway through I went for the commencement of Crushing of the Fresh Raw Garlic. :)
You're gonna end up with major garlic breath of course but who cares when the soup changes so favorably. So Good. Not hard to figure out but garlic crushed fresh is so much better than some of the stuff in jars that can be pretty gnarly at times.
I did have enough cash on me to get a full order of their Japanese gyozas ($3.50 for 6 pcs). The thin wrapper characteristic of Japanese gyoza had an unusually heavy textured coating, probably from being floured too generously. It didn't bother me one bit and enjoyed them as if they were southern chicken-fried gyoza.(!)
The filling was coarser with flavors of minced cabbage, ground pork, and garlic you can taste individually. Simple and basic but definitely way much better than many generic ones I've sadly been forced to consume for lack of choice down in SD.
While some of the interior and decor has slightly changed since Rameniac's review to accommodate more tables, Yamadaya to me will still be that great hole in wall ramen joint in Torrance that serves a very good Tonkotsu ramen with equally authentic Southern Californian Teriyaki Katsu Plates to the town's lucky hungry masses. :)
Yamadaya, 3118 W 182nd St, Torrance, CA 90504