Ramen in South Bay has almost as many meaning as the term “actor” in LA. Sometimes it means you’re South Bay’s best, and you look haughtily at the less fortunate while adoring fans Instagram photos upon sighting your perfect broth. Other times it means you’re serve a solid, hit-the-spot B star soup. But nowadays even Kula Revolving Sushi and the skewer-sticklers at Torihei offer ramen. I’m sure it’s talented, but it’s not going to be discovered in the shadow of Santouka.
With all this ramen, ramen everywhere (and so many drops to drink), I wasn’t all that excited about trying yet another place. But people raved about Men Oh’s Little Tokyo location, the bowls were half off for ramen week, and my friends were so excited about checking out the new kid in town there was no way I could refuse.
Let’s just say the new kid in town is probably going to be known for his appetizers. There was nothing wrong with the Gyoza we shared, but the thicker wrapper and standard pork-and-generic-veggies filling was nothing you couldn’t get frozen from a bag.
The appetizer was lackluster, but the Tokushima Ramen was one of the least regrettable decisions I’ve ever made. The richly intense broth of pork fat and oil has some of the softest chashu I’ve ever had, and even the leaner parts dissolve on your tongue. The classic flavored egg is soft-boiled just right, and the al dente noodles are spot on. The butabara is new for me, and every little stir-fried greasy bit was delightful. Plus this is probably the most fun bowl of ramen I’ve ever had. Most of my favorite places have limited variations, and the sides are often scarce. Men Oh lets you add extras of anything you want for a reasonable charge, and while there’s no way I could finish an extra helping of noodles, adding a pound of chashu and butabara didn’t hurt…until after…
Saying you serve ramen in Torrance has myriad meanings. Your ramen could be incredibly talented and waiting to be discovered, a diamond in the rough waiting for the right cutting and casting, or a rising star who can’t help but shine. In the case of Men Oh, this ramen’s audition blew me away.