Two CHOW editors on a caloric extravaganza exploring innovation, novelty, and deliciousness. RSS
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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!