Thursday, February 24, 2011

Ramen Jinya

Ramen Jinya sits randomly in the corner of a two-story strip mall, right next to a commanding Marshall's. Parking is thankfully very easy with an underground garage.

The restaurant itself seems a little tacky from the outside, but its interior has some high ceilings, classic wood paneling, and more space than you'd expect for a ramen joint. There's some comfortable outdoor seating, but if you can, sit at the counter.

I always enjoy the opportunity to sit and marvel at the kinetics of a kitchen.

As I waited for my food, I noticed that the fast-paced kitchen still had its moments of absolute tranquility.

I barely got my finger off the shutter button before the kitchen picked up the pace again and pumped out my food.

The meal started with a light, typical, Japanese salad of mixed greens and addictive dressing. It was sweet, bitter, refreshing, and acidic, very much like most Japanese starter salads.

The Gyoza was also, more or less, typical. This set of gyoza tasted a little bit more fried than most, but each bite still gave way to succulent meat seasoned by the accompanying soy sauce and rice vinegar. I also love it when there's that flaky sheet of fried juices hanging off the sides of the dumpling. Not the best gyoza I've had, but still delicious.

The star of the show was the Tonkotsu Ramen. Swimming in a bath of beautiful pork broth, unstable chashu, sharp ginger, bright green onions, chewy spinach, juicy bamboo, and sweet onion, the noodles were hardly the center of attention. The noodles themselves were al dente and springy, but for whatever reason, they didn't taste as fresh as I wanted them to.

Jonathan Gold describes the ramen at Ramen Jinya as a flavor bomb, and with my first scoop of the stuff, I understood what he meant. The pork broth itself is packed with a serious, porky punch, accompanied by the noticeably fishy aroma and flavor of dashi. The pork falls apart in your mouth and soaks up more of the broth throughout the meal. I loved the intensity of the broth's flavors balanced out by a smartly composed canvas of toppings.

My only complaint was that the soup was a little bit on the salty side. I loved the amount of salt as I was eating the first half of the bowl, but by the second half, I found myself drinking more and more water to balance out the sodium intake. Maybe my mouth was just getting worn out by the intensity of the flavors.

With an average bowl of ramen noodles clocking in at 49g of carbs, I made it a point to stick with my normal two-unit dose of insulin, to only eat two-thirds of the noodles, and to schedule in some good exercise thirty minutes after this meal. Ramen in my belly? Check. Let's not forget the taste of broth on my lips for the next 24 hours. Healthy dose of exercise? Check. Taking my brother's dog, Fuji, for a run did the trick. Stable blood sugar levels? Check. My numbers after the exercise were right back to where they normally are.

With very few accessible ramen restaurants in the San Fernando Valley, Ramen Jinya offers a great bowl of ramen. Though it's not the best bowl of ramen I've ever had (I'm sure at some point I'll have a completely biased post about Ramen House, my favorite ramen joint in Los Angeles), it's certainly a great spot for a quick, flavorful, and satisfying meal in the east side of the Valley. It's very likely that you'll leave this place in a food coma. If that's the case, don't hesitate to walk it off at Marshall's.

Ramen Jinya
11239 Ventura Blvd.
Studio City, CA 91604
(818) 980-3977

GET: Tonkotsu Ramen.


  1. Haha I hadn't seen this yet when I talked to you. Looks delicious, and you know I love salt.

    Incidentally, it's officially Ramen Nippon even though it's Ramen House to us.

  2. Hahaha, yea, I don't think I'll ever acknowledge its true name...


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...