Ramen Yamadaya was a fairly unlikely choice to become a breakout ramen house, with only seven tables, a quartet of red stools and an owner who committed to the concept because “ramen is popular.” However, as always, the proof is in the bowl (or on the plate), and with the Tsukemen ($8.45 for 7 oz.).
It was my first encounter with a style of ramen that separated the noodles from the broth, and yet, it worked remarkably well. In this case, a bowl of cool, thick noodles appeared with firm slices of pork, a soft-boiled egg that touted an impeccably cooked yolk that seeped ever so slowly from the white, a crisp seaweed sail and crunchy, fibrous bamboo shoots. On the side, I received a bowl of bonito-spiked pork broth designed for dipping. Bits of super-charged pork flecked the murky broth and thrived on the intensity of the dried fish. The salty, pork-fueled broth was so savory that it made it near impossible for me to stop slurping and dipping the noodles, which captured just the right amount of rich broth.
As good as the tsukemen was, the counterman said the tonkotsu is even better. Online, Ramen Yamadaya’s website describes the process of boiling pork bones for 20 hours “to break bones into flakes” and “to extract the genuine pork bone broth.” My experience was new and more-than satisfying, but after reading that paragraph, I couldn’t help but feel pangs of regret. Thankfully, Ramen Yamadaya still stands, and a branch is coming to Culver City in May, so no regrets. When pork’s involved, there are never any regrets.
Dose of Vitamin P spotlights my favorite pork dish from the previous week.