CHOW Tour
Two CHOW editors on a caloric extravaganza exploring innovation, novelty, and deliciousness. rss
See Where We've Eaten!

Doing the Ramen Twist

Is foie gras ramen too over the top to actually be good? That was the pressing question upon stopping by the Yatai Ramen Twist pop-up restaurant at Breadbar on West Third Street in LA. It was our first stop in Los Angeles after our flight, so we walked from our hotel, which got us a few weird looks from motorists along the way (the stereotypes! they're true!).

The verdict: Foie gras ramen, at least the one cooked by Chef Kazuo Shimamura for this month-and-a-half stint at Breadbar during the evenings, is a good thing. We feared it would be greasy and just kinda silly, but the chef kept it simple: noodles, a rich consommé, a few bean sprouts, chopped chives, and a chunk of seared foie gras on top. The fatty seared liver was a good mix with the deep, dark consommé and tender noodles. We also tried the shoyu ramen from the "classics" section of the menu. The meaty soy stock had a lot of good stuff in it: noodles, a salty marinated poached egg, a big slab of kurobuta pork belly, bamboo shoots, and nori.

But what, no line around the block? We're not in San Francisco anymore, where Hapa Ramen's pop-up has seen ravenous crowds. Ramen seems to be trending hard on the pop-up front, perhaps tapping into twenty- and thirtysomethings' nostalgia for Top Ramen. In San Francisco, there was Hapa, and now Yatai in LA. Will we also find a pop-up ramen restaurant in NYC? Suggestions welcome!