[Full-size photos, with captions, at http://theoffalo.com/2013/03/ramen-ha...]
I've heard very good things about Ramen Hayatemaru in Torrance and have been trying to get to their new West L.A. location for a few weeks now (since they've only been open for a few weeks). They're at the corner of Olympic and Barrington, where Waraya used to be.
I finally went tonight with my younger daughter. We were the only ones in there at ~6:30 PM. The interior did not look new, so apparently no major remodeling was done before opening and the place probably looks close to what Waraya looked like before (I presume, having never been to Waraya). Everything was clean, but I did take notice of the aging and stained drop ceiling with a rusty metal air vent hanging down, and the somewhat haphazard looking bathroom.
I've never been to the Torrance one and I'm no ramen connoiseur, but I generally like the shio at Santouka (my favorite ramen place) over their shoyu or miso, and I've gathered that Santouka's shio is tonkotsu-esque, so I ordered the "Hokkaido ramen" which I figured was close to either shio or tonkotsu at Hayatemaru.
I probably still like Santouka's shio better, but I did enjoy the Hokkaido ramen. The noodles were cut relatively short and were easy to eat with the large spoon provided. I didn't get any add-ons, so the ramen had just two slices of chashu and the ajitsuke tamago was cooked through. Does anyone know if that's standard for the ajitama that's included with the ramen but if ordered as an add-on would be more hanjuku?
My daughter wanted "potstickers" so I ordered gyoza for her. Those were very good, mostly due to the skin, which were very thin. They allowed the gyoza to really crisp up. The filling didn't have too much of what I thing of as "empty" filler like cabbage, just pork and asatsuki from what I could tell, which was good, but was a little compact. The slightly spicy miso dipping sause was very good.
I would definitely go back again, especially since it's a little more convenient than going to Santouka. I may order the tsukemen next time just to see how it compares to Tsujita. Or maybe I'll try the white or red miso, since I've read that "real" Hokkaido ramen is usually miso-based.
11678 West Olympic Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90025