Thursday, July 15, 2010

Breadbar's Yatai Ramen

(Sorry, I left my camera at home so the photos are rather grainy.)

Last night, I checked out Breadbar's latest pop up, Yatai Ramen. Here's the thing about Yatai Ramen. You have to go in expecting to pay $10-20 for ramen. Sacrilege, you say? Santouka and Asahi ramens cost about $7-8 only. If you are expecting the same quality for price like those in the Eastside, I think you might be disappointed. If you are hoping for traditional flavored ramen, I don't think this is the place for you. But if you want to try ramen with exciting toppings, you'd be more accepting of the higher price tag. Personally, I'm not a ramen snob. I don't eat enough of it (unless you count the DIY home-cooked packages) to have developed an expert opinion on the dish. What I'm looking for is simply a nice bowl of hot noodle soup. And Yatai did that for me.

Breadbar offers a selection of baked good which are baked fresh daily.

You know I can't say no to a croissant, so I went for a taste of the petit croissant. Still tasted good even at 7pm.

I love Breadbar's financiers. These were similar to the ones I got at Manzke's Hatchi Series but this time, they offered both vanilla and chocolate financiers. Double trouble..

The ramen menu is broken out into Classic and Twist. Because we're craazzy adventurous diners, the Twist menu looked more appealing. The way I saw it.. leave the classic ramen dishes to the Santoukas of the world.

I LOVE bubbly. I LOVE BYOB even more.

A bottle of Jewish wine (because that was the only store that my friend saw on the way to the restaurant).

We were struggling between a few dishes (spicy miso, foie or oxtail??) so we asked for a sample of the broths to aid in our decision.

We got both orders of the gyozas (kale and pork feet). It sounded a bit much for 3 people (5 pieces per plate) but they went gone in a second.

The kale definitely tasted like kale. It was crunchy, very vegetarian-like and healthy. I actually preferred the pork better because I love meat over veggies. The meat was shredded and wasn't as fatty as some pork feet dishes can be. I know.. $8 for 5 pieces of gyoza is not cheap, but find me another place that serves pork feet gyoza that isn't located east of Hollywood...

Spicy miso ramen - seasoning with blend miso spicy sauce, served with marinated poached egg, kurobuta pork belly, nori, bamboo shoot, kikurage, Tokyo negi
I thought the broth had good flavors. It had spice to it but wasn't too spicy. I liked the crunch from the kikurage (wood ear mushrooms) and the Tokyo negi (fried leeks). Unfortunately there was not much meat in the bowl- only two pieces of sliced pork belly. Another complaint was that the eggs in all the ramen dishes were not poached; they were more on the hard boiled side.

For the brave ones, an extra side of spicy sauce was served.

Spicy pork curry ramen with braised pork, marinated poached eggs, leeks

This was my choice and I enjoyed it. Unlike the spicy miso ramen, this dish was flooded with meat. There was a lot of pork which was shredded and had the same consistency as the pork feet in the gyoza. The pork was well marinated and the broth was a mild Japanese curry flavor. This was definitely a filling dish and worth $12, IMO.

Oxtail ramen with rich ox tail soup, truffle oil and marinated poached egg
I'm glad we got to sample the broth in the beginning of the night because we knew what to expect. The broth wasn't as heavy as you would think. It's not heavy like an oxtail stew. It was viscous but definitely still very concentrated in flavor. It also had a slight sweetness to it. I liked the sourness from the marinated bamboo shoots. The oxtail meat wasn't too heavy (considering that it was oxtail) and there was the right amount of it. The noodles were cooked perfectly; they were not mushy and they did a great job of soaking up the flavors of the broth. If there was any truffle oil in the dish, we didn't taste any.

I enjoyed my dining experience at Yatai because I found the ramen choices to be interesting and something that I haven't seen elsewhere. I was tempted to order the foie version but I'm glad I stuck with the spicy pork. I liekd our waiter. He wasn't peeved when my friend was almost a half hour late. He also graciously brought by the sample broths. Service did get a little slow as the place got packed but I empathized with the poor guy as he was serving most of the tables. I also love that Breadbar is BYOB. And the best part? The bill came out to less than $20 per person! AND I didn't have to drive east for this. Win and Win!

Hits: price, spicy pork noodles, pork feet gyoza, service
Misses: egg wasn't poached, not enough pork belly
Rating: ***

Yatai Ramen @ Breadbar
8718 West 3rd St.,
Los Angeles, CA 90048
(310) 205-0124


weezermonkey said...

You are brilliant to have asked for broth samples!

stuffycheaks said...

Weezermonkey - thanks! It made a big difference because I dont like to be surprised!

Kung Food Panda said...

Though I didn't care for my experience at Yatai, I did appreciate (I probably should have stated that more on my review) the different types of ramen offered. Though, at the end of the ramen, I was spoiled by the ramen I had available in Torrance and wasn't crazy about this particular pop-up