Continued my tour of Japanese spots in Torrance/Gardena and went to Hakata Ramen in Gardena. A part of the Shin Shen Gumi family of Japanese restaurants, I have heard that the ramen here is top notch. It did not disappoint.
The menu is conveniently laid out in sets so you can order by a specific set (e.g. the A Set) which is like a combination of ramen and a side (e.g. ½ order of fried rice or gyoza). The order process is facilitated through the use of an order form, akin to sushi sheets. You listed the set, any additional toppings, firmness of your noodles, oiliness of your broth, and richness of your broth. My friends chuckled as we discussed how firm we wanted our noodles (I know, I know, but seriously we couldnt resist). We also thought it was funny that there was a column for undesireables hmph, there would be none of that today my friend I wanted the full experience.
I opted for the A-Set, which included a full order of ramen and a half order of gyoza. I selected normal for my noodle style, broth and oil levels. The gyoza came out first and consisted of about 8 pieces of teeny tiny gyoza. They were pretty cool looking, being so small browed to crispy goodness on the outside and the inside was pretty savory.
Out came the ramen, which I believe is Kyushu style made from a broth of pork bones. Milky is the most appropriate term here as the broth was completely opaque. Now, I swear by Daikokuya but this bowl of ramen at Hakata was a bit smoother in finish. I notice that the broth at Daikokuya is so rich that sometimes it has a certain bite at the end. The broth at Hakata was smoother and finished with less of a bang which was oddly appreciated during my lunch. Perhaps it is because I opted for normal broth, and the Daikokuya broth is super rich by default in either case, I think the broth at Hakata was splendid.
Excellent, I would hesitate popping out here unless I was already in the area but I really enjoyed it.
Shin Shen Gumi - Hakata Ramen
2015 W. Redondo Bch Blvd., #C, Gardena, CA
Inspired by a list created by Melanie Wong on the SF Board here are my Ramen rankings:
1.Hakata Ramen (Shin Shen Gumi) Gardena
2.Daikokua Little Tokyo an oh-so-close second
3.Orochon Little Tokyo the spice schtick is starting to wear on me, plus the cute waitress no longer works there.
4.Mr. Ramen Little Tokyo - I liked their gyoza more than anything.