Shigetoshi Nakamura, one of Japan’s most highly regarded ramen chefs, has opened up a new restaurant in Torrance, based on the principles of molecular cooking, says rameniac. It’s called Ramen California. He’s intentionally trying to invent a wholly Californian style, using local produce. “At first I was pretty skeptical and though it would turn out to be some fusion-type wankery but it’s actually pretty freakin’ great,” says rameniac.
But, to appreciate it, hardcore ramen-heads will have to abandon all expectations of super-saturated taste and authenticity. “Instead of deep, rich steaming ramen complexity, the chef has gone in the totally opposite direction, using seasonal California vegetables and a simple chicken soup,” explains rameniac. It’s “the birth of a whole new style of slurping ramen,” says exilekiss, who attributes some of the innovation to chef Nakamura’s friendship with chef Ferran Adrià, of El Bulli fame.
Nakamura’s signature ramen is Californian ramen, with over 30 types of vegetables in extremely light, pure chicken broth, says exilekiss. The broth is mainly made from chicken bones, with tiny touches of pork and kelp. The lightness of the soup makes it a great stage to show off the fresh ingredients, such as earthy beets and vibrant fresh broccoli, says exilekiss.
Heirloom tomato ramen won exilekiss over, while other fans appreciate essence ramen, another chicken broth and vegetable ramen, but balanced to emphasize the broth and noodles, instead of the vegetables. There’s even Reggiano cheese tofu ramen. The cheese tofu actually melts into the chicken soup, creating a cheesy “umami” bomb, according to rameniac.
There are oddball Euro appetizers on the menu too, like rosemary kasha bread, which involves olive oil and rosemary on top of a Chinese-style steamed bun. The appetizers, like the ramen, emphasize the essence of a particular vegetable.
Ramen California [South Bay]
24231 Crenshaw Boulevard, Unit C, Torrance
Board Links: molecular gastronomy ramen?! wth?! oh yes, RAMEN CALIFORNIA is here. (review w/ pics)
The Birth of a New Era? Delicious and Healthy California-style Ramen using Seasonal, Local Vegetables at Ramen California [Review] w/ Pics!