Oomasa, Mr. Ramen, Yamazaki and Mikawaya

I’m sure it’s a surprise to nobody that I enjoy eating Japanese food. I spent some time in Japan a few years ago and these days I really enjoy visiting the various eateries in Little Tokyo. Here are some mini-reviews of establishments I’ve visited in the last few weeks that I enjoyed: Oomasa, Mr. Ramen, Yamazaki and Mikawaya.

Oomasa

There aren’t many places in town where you can get Gizzard Shad, kohada in Japanese. Kohada tastes like mackerel and traditionally comes with a piece of clear kelp on top of it. I have developed a taste for fishy sushi and kahada fits that bill perfectly, I really like it. The chefs at Oomasa are friendly and skilled and always deliver wonderful servings of sushi and sashimi. When I ordered the sweet shrimp ama-ebi the heads came in a hot miso broth which I hadn’t had before, but is the traditional method of serving the heads as opposed to the deep frying that is more common here in the states.

Mr. Ramen

It was late and we were hungry. We wanted to try something new and we settled on Mr. Ramen. The waitress was busy and somewhat inattentive, mostly because of the huge party of people that seemed to keep growing every few minutes. I ordered the miso ramen with pork and Penelope had the tofu ramen, with spinach added. Penelope doesn’t particularly like eggs or pork and both were floating in her giant bowl, so I quickly fished them out and dropped them into my bowl. The noodles were much better then the cheap store-bought ramen we ate as kids, and the broth was wonderfully complex, slightly sweet with rich tones of miso and pork. I had a large bottle of Kirin and some cold sake and almost was able to finish the massive ramen bowl. The fried chicken we foolishly ordered was barely touched. A bowl of ramen from Mr. Ramen is enough for two… don’t order any side dishes!

Yamazaki

Although I didn’t realize it at the time, Yamazaki is a Japanese chain bakery. They make delicious bread and pastries. Penelope makes the most delicious french toast with their thick white bread. The cute little poodle tarts were light and refreshing and penelope really enjoyed the sugar toast.

Mikawaya

Another place I didn’t realize was a chain is Mikawaya. They are the folks who make the mochi covered ice cream you can get at Trader Joes. We had some of their hand made mango sorbet and it was delicious. They also make the loveliest mochi treats I have seen since I was in Japan. If you have a sweet tooth and enjoy pounded rice or home made gelato this is the spot.

9 Replies to “Oomasa, Mr. Ramen, Yamazaki and Mikawaya”

  1. Thanks for the tip, o master of flickr toys. I’ll have to check it out. Btw did you ever do those squared circle posters and do you have any left?

  2. Might I throw in my two Little Tokyo ramen favorites: Orochon and Daikokuya.

    Orochon has 7 levels of spicy, 1 being “Extreme” and 7 being non-spicy. They even have a “Wall of Fame” with Polaroid pictures for those who have been daring enough to finish a bowl of Extreme Spicy in 30 minutes or less. Wall of Fame notwithstanding, the noodles are just the right consistency and broth is perfectly salty, savory and sweet. I like spicy foods, and I usually go for a level 5… and I’m slowly sweating by the end. Make sure to order extra pork… it’s the largest, fattiest, juiciest slice of pork I’ve yet to see in a ramen spot.

    Daikokuya is just plain freaking good, and solid service every time I’ve been.

    I’ll second Mr. Ramen’s downfalls… The ramen was okay, but the service was pretty bad both times I went. The first time our party of four didn’t get our food until a full hour after we got sat on a half-empty night, and the second time the food was more timely but the server was inattentive and forgetful on another half-empty night.

  3. My favorite item at the Yamazaki bakery is called a “melon pan” – although it bears the same relationship to melon that Apple Jacks bear to apples.

    My most feared item is the “Mayo Pan,” which appears to be a sweet roll stuffed with mayonaise, I haven’t worked up the courage to confirm this, however, since mayonaise is my kryptonite.

    Speaking of bakeries, this amazing cavernous cuban bakery opened in Burbank a few weeks ago called “Porto’s”. There is also one in Glendale. I’ve been living off their potato balls for the past week.

  4. One of our family’s favorite spots is AOI, a couple stores over from Mr. Ramen I think. Been going there since I was teeny, tiny. I want some now. :D

    *e

  5. for late night dining you can’t go wrong with suehiro, although koraku is a very close second. my dad loves the diner atmosphere and the country style cooking at suehiro so we always end up there though.

    i’ve always gotten food to go at mr. ramen and they’re always prompt, sucks that their table service isn’t as good.

  6. Mr. Ramen is my favorite of the Little Tokyo ramen choices. I prefer their spicy vegetarian vegetble miso ramen with spinach added. In the full heat of summer the vegetarian cold ramen is perfect. Orochon is fun, I have made it up to level 3, I still have a long way to go to get to SPECIAL 2.

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