Scoping out single-vessel culture in Los Angeles, America’s capital of laid-back food.

Next to Daikokuya, a ramen shop in Little Tokyo known for its boiled bone marrow tonkotsu broth, is Marugame Monzo, another Japanese soup shop specializing in handmade udon, including crossover versions like sea urchin and cream. The menu has many affordable appetizers and side dishes, crispy chicken skin, and, lo and behold, a negitoro bowl for only $5.50. The price was right. I was handed a bowl doused with mayo. Under a sparse thatch of finely shredded nori, it covered a hidden mound of tuna and scallion.

I have no issues with mayo. It works really well in things like POT’s sea urchin dynamite (always likely to sell out). Mayo makes things rich and decadent, gives you the feeling of luxury. In the negitoro don, it kept the sticky-sweet plum sauce in balance while being unforgivingly indulgent, just like all the best munchie-drunk foods.

Marugame Monzo [Little Tokyo]
329 E. First Street, Los Angeles; 213-346-9762

Bowl grade: B

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Photo from Let’s Eating!

Justin Bolois is a writer living in Los Angeles. Follow him on Twitter @JustinBolois.
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