so after reading a mention of "It's Q" Ramen here a few weeks ago, I decided to go check it out. Turns out I'd been there before (I eat way too much ramen lol) but knew it more by it's Japanese name, "Ikkyu". I think I'd completely neglected the "It's Q" part of the sign haha.
Anyway, this place claims to be Hakata-style ramen, just like ShinSenGumi. If you can read kanji, the japanese portion of the sign actually says "Hakata Ikkyu" on it. If one were to believe it's claims, this would only make it the SECOND Hakata-style ramen shop (I'm counting the various branches of SSG as one) in Southern California. The question then, is... does it live up to that promise?
Well, their specialty appears to be 'Tamayu Ramen'. When I asked what that meant, they explained that it's basically Hakata-style, with 'Tamayu' meaning the special kind of oil they use in the broth.
I ordered the 'Yuzukosho' ramen (yes, a red chili & citrus paste variation on the stuff you spoon onto your yakitori at SSG). The waitress assured me that it was the same thing as the Tamayu Ramen but with a serving of the yuzukosho on the side. And that is exactly what it was; the S.O. ordered the regular ramen just for comparison's sake.
Anyway, on to the ramen itself. It is indeed a fairly decent tonkotsu broth. Fans of Daikokuya, ShinSenGumi, and rich broth ramen ought to try it out. The noodles were actually NOT authentic Hakata style; albeit being a bit thinner than regular soda-enriched ramen noodles, they were still of the yellow, eggy consistency (a la Daikokuya) rather than the white, wiry strands of true hakata-men (like at SSG).
Topping-wise, they had kikurage (Japanese wood ear) in the broth, which is pretty much a hakata standard, and it also helps that they have jars of red ginger and takana pickles at every table. However, for no discernible reason, every bowl of ramen comes with one stalk of bok choy floating on top (!) and that irritated me endlessly. Maybe it's their trademark or something. Take it out and toss it aside in protest if you must.
All in all, it's a decent bowl of noodles, not spectacular, but mix in the spicy yuzukosho paste and the soup actually becomes quite good, a reasonable alternative to Daikokuya and SSG as they fight for runner-up spots behind Santouka (still the best ramen in SoCal by far).
One thing worth noting: the place has ATROCIOUS decor. I don't mind the nondescript facade in an empty mini-mall, but the inside looks like a converted pho restaurant, right down to the cheap formica tables and retro '80s chairs.
Go if you live in the SGV, need an alternative to your usual ramen haunts, or find yourself jonesing for a bowl out in the hinterlands.
Ikkyu (It's Q) Ramen
3107 S Colima Rd
Hacienda Heights, CA