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Branching out at Kyushu Ramen

Debbie W. | Mar 12, 200510:05 PM

We're starting to go to Kyushu Ramen more often. It seems to be the only ramen joint in our general area (Sherman Oaks/Van Nuys/Studio City/Encino) and it has other Japanese items which we're starting to explore. The restaurant actually has two separate entrances, and it sort of has a split personality. One side is brightly lit with formica tables and zero atmosphere. The other side, while also sporting formica, is dark, with candles on the tables, and a sushi bar type area with some seating at the bar although there aren't any see-through glass cases at eye level. The two sides are connected. Sometimes it seems like the dark side isn't open.

In addition to the normal menu there's a separate menu which we saw last night for the first time, with strangely priced bar snacks (think no even numbers, like $3.63 or weird amounts like that). There are some things like skewered deep-fried cheese sticks. From that menu, we tried deep-fried spicy squid legs. The squid legs themselves were large and chewy, with a not-too-thick coating. The only thing that made them spicy was the separate crock of chile sauce for dipping. Still, they were satisfying to chew, and would have been good with a beer had we been in the mood for beers. I don't know if this menu is only available at night, having neglected to ask. I suspect so.

I don't really like the gyoza there, especially after sampling the gyoza at Daikokuya. The filling doesn't have a distinct flavor, it's kind of mushy, and the wrapper isn't anything special.

There are a couple of entrees on the regular menu that are only available after 6pm - one is "Beef Steak Japanese Style" ($9.50) and the other is "Beef Rib Korean Style" ($8.95). Last night I tried the latter. I'm not an expert on Korean short ribs, but these were pretty enjoyable. Nicely flavored meat, with a goodly but not overwhelming amount of char, each short rib yielded a couple of bites and then some chew around the bone. There were around 12 on the plate, too many for me to handle alone after gyoza and squid, but as usual my husband pitched in to help. Miso soup, salad, rice, and a choice of kim chee or spaghetti were included. I opted for the spaghetti since I'm a sucker for the cold Japanese mayo-sauced spaghetti.

Service wise, the food comes out as it's ready, and the servers are always scurrying. Husband had ordered a noodle dish, which arrived well before either the gyoza (to be expected) or the squid legs or my short ribs. I witnessed the same at other tables.

A half-order of 4 gyoza, squid, his noodles, my short ribs, a Diet Coke for him = $28 or so before tip.

Open 7 days from 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 a.m.!

Kyushu Ramen
15355 Sherman Way
Van Nuys, CA 91406
(818) 786-6005

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