Shin Sen Gumi Hakata Ramen
We'd heard that Shin Sen Gumi Hakata Ramen was going to open a branch in Los Angeles' Japantown, and we knew it was supposedly September 8th... but filling a random craving for ramen on the last Sunday in August, we headed to Japantown to Daikokuya and expected to brave the line there.
Instead, while circling for parking, I see lights and people inside Shin Sen Gumi???
Holy crap!! Plan change!!
Amazing. Turned out it was the very first day that Shin Sen Gumi Hakata Ramen's Japantown was open-- first day of their soft opening. AWESOME!!!!
And it was good. Oh very good. They served the toppings on the side rather than in the bowl for some of them, plus the ramen combos are also different; and finally being the soft opening not all of the actual menu was available.
But what was available was damned tasty. We got almost everything we wanted except the poached egg, and if the kara age (fried chicken) was slow to come out, we could forgive that given that our pitcher of Kirin first magically turned into a second pitcher, then ended up being free for both, and they do "cheers!" for you in Japanese if you want. Pretty cool. Add in the big group table in addition to regular tables, ramen baskets for chandliers, and a modern-yet-Japanese decor...
Pretty nice, I say, and the usual good yummy NOM NOM NOM!!! Hakata-style ramen they do so well.
Very pleased. Very pleased indeed. According to Dan, who went a few days later, they're already packed.
Stopped by the Go For Broke Japanese-American World War II memorial on the way out; somehow I'd never been. Pretty nifty, and quite a nice night out!