Wednesday, January 14, 2009
Asa-tisfying Bowl of Ramen
After my disappointing Indian experience at Addi's Tandoor in Torrance, I was ready to give up on the South Bay. Of course, inomthings put me back on track, explaining that I was just not looking in the right places. She rattled off an exciting list of Japanese places for me to check out. Seeing as how I'm frequently driving down there anyway, it was time for me to check one of them out.
It's not like I didn't know that there was outstanding Japanese food around Torrance. My trips to Musha and Izakaya Bincho (formerly Yakitori Bincho) were incredible, some of the favorite restaurants in LA. In fact, Asa is next to Sanuki no Sato an excellent udon-ya.
Having heard that ramen and takoyaki are the two things that Asa does best, I couldn't say no to either. Nor could I say no to this wonderful juicy chicken karaage. Fried nice and fluffy, it felt wholesome to put in my mouth without that repulsive slick of too much oil.
For the octopus, we chose mochi cheese takoyaki. For those unfamiliar, it is pieces of octopus battered, fried, and topped with sauce and bonito shavings. I'm not knowledgeable enough about takoyaki to make this claim definitively, but this felt like the bacon-wrapped hotdog of the fried octopus ball world. Biting into one of these morsels instantly brought back childhood memories of pulling the gooey strands off an extra cheese pizza. After this, I don't know if I can ever go back to mozzarella sticks.
Coming off my lackluster trip to Daikokuya, it took me a few weeks for my spirit (and my stomach) to crave ramen again. Daikokuya's ramen is NOT THAT GOOD. Yes, all you otaku fanboys can curse me in broken Japanese. But have a bowl at Asa and tell me that its ramen doesn't pwn Daikokuya. The noodles were thin, yet firm. Both the light assari style and heavy kotteri broths had a rich shoyu flavor and a ton of umami. The soup makes you smack your lips twice after the last drop is gone. I liked the bamboo shoots, which offered some texture contrast, but the chasu was irresistible. Maybe they don't use Berkshire kurobuta pork like Daikokuya claims, but I could easily go the rest of my life without having another one of those oinkers in my ramen if I could have Asa chasu instead.
Ultimately, I would go back to Asa because their ramen does what ramen should do. It is a comforting bowl that warms the body and makes me happy. If your ramen doesn't do that, then you know where to go.
18202 S Western Ave