So took my posse of noodle fetishists out to Chabuya for their "Grand Opening" on Friday night. I'll post a more detailed review on my in-progress ramen website in the next few days, but for now, let's just say that it was SO CLOSE to spectacular. Solid tonkotsu pork bone broth (not in the hakata/nagahama style but good nonetheless) and buttery chashu. Spoke briefly with chef Morizumi (a current celebrity in Japan) and the owner of the shop, Mr. Ohta. They were exceptionally modest and forthcoming, with Mr. Ohta saying how Morizumi-san is extremely picky about his ingredients (everything in the ramen is from various organic farms across the U.S. and Canada - at which point I thought "healthy ramen?!?!") and how they had gone through several batches of noodles before making one that was 'acceptable'. He seemed to imply that it's a work in progress, and I could kind of agree. The noodles were a little soft and tasted like that hadn't risen quite properly (could have been more springy) but I could see what they were going for. My J-girlfriend and I had the same assessment: give them another week or two to settle in and the ramen will be totally awesome. As it stands, it's already the best ramen on the Westside - better than Asahi, Ramenya, Yokohama, etc. I would rate them better than both Shin Sen Gumi in Torrance and Daikokuya. On par at least with Santouka (still love that Santouka flavor) but with the potential to be better once they get their noodles straight and their tare (soup base) has had some time to age. oh yeah, and mix in the fried garlic chips for maximum soup effect.
Addendum: topping-wise, I added spicy scallions. They were perhaps too generous with it, as it nearly overwhelmed the broth. If you get it, ask for it on the side.
Added Addendum: their bowls have a smaller diameter but are deeper than your usual ramen bowl. as my friend pointed out, what's good about vertical bowls is that they keep the broth HOT, which is integral, but it's much harder on the presentation as you have to cram all your toppings - chashu, negi, etc. into a smallish space. modernism comes at a price lol, but i won't complain too much.
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