Dropped in Ramen Mottainai today after a day of shopping in Gardena and Torrance. It's actually my first time visiting since my longer first impression post August of last year. Things looked busy and great and the welcoming calls from the people felt sincere and comforting as ever. One of the chefs manning the high BTU wok for their signature Miso Ramen even gave me a nod as I sat at the counter up front.
I came for the new Gyokai Tonkotsu Tsukemen but discovered it was only served during dinner. Bummer! There was another newer spicy Tonkotsu/Shoyu called the Yokohama Striker on their updated menu as well as a limited time extremely spicy Gekikara cold Tsukemen posted. Unfortunately I wasn't in the mood for spicy today and knowing their Miso was very good it was tempting to order but I ended up with the simpler Shoyu (Tokyo Props).
I did ask for a richer Kotteri this time but I guess there's a limit to how heavy they serve it where you really need to get one of the Garlic White Bombs (a small scoop of flavored lard) to leap it forward to the next level. But if you do like a smooth Assari Shoyu with some niboshi notes, you're in luck. If not, this Shoyu is still a great platform to load up on the goodies.
I had to get their Japanese Gyoza's of course, five for $2.95. They serve them all day now without a limit which is fantastic but while my previous experiences with these were already very good, the new and improved versions were awesome.
Large and plump, super crispy on one side, packed with a flavorful looser porky filling flowing with juices that's just greasy enough. Any signs of waterlogging and easily torn skins that little plagued the otherwise wonderful gyozas were of the past. Delicious, and seriously... what great value! Ramen Mottainai's five-for-under-three-bucks-served-all-day-long-juicy-flavorful-gyozas gets my blog's first blue ribboned trophy Radiused Corner - Really Great Value Award. Next time I just may have to get two plates.
There are lunch combo deals now as well that comes with a small salad and side. Seeing that one of them was a small curry bowl I of course had to get it. (Combo-B, +$3)
I was bracing for an off the shelf generic flavor but dude, the curry was pretty good! An extra thicker style where starchy fruits and vegetables melds into an indistinguishable texture and becomes one with the rue. Satisfyingly rich with a lot of fruity sweetness and a bit of heat. Watch out CoCo-Ichi Torrance?
There was now a bottle of homemade fruit vinegar on each table. Very nice halfway or so through the meal to liven up the flavors once again. It's like magic, and only a little drizzle is all it takes.
I need to somehow replan a visit during dinner to try the tsukemen. Again, bummer!
Ramen Mottainai, 1630 W. Redondo Beach Blvd - Suite 9, Gardena, CA 90247 (in the Gardena Marukai Market complex)