Was hoping to finally try Sawtelle Kitchen for the first time last night after a play at the Wadsworth (on the VA campus grounds) but sadly SK closed at 9:30. So instead my girlfriend and I wandered down Sawtelle for the first time, where I saw so many restaurants I had read so many good things about on this board... Sawtelle Kitchen... 2117... Blue Marlin. It's made me realize that I need to seriously explore this corridor more.
I have a review and a question... if you don't want to read my (lengthy) review, then please scroll past to my question. Thanks!
We wound up at this little ramen place close to 2117 (in the same strip mall)... I don't remember the name (kishihari?) where we ordered a bowl of spicy pork ramen soup (about $6.50), gyoza (about $3.50) and Tofo in black bean sauce (Don) which was about about $6.00. Each table had these little tiny jars with tiny spoons, one filled with pepper and the other with some kind of red spice. And of course bottles of soy, vinegar and chili oil as well. First-- the don. A mound of very sticky, mildly flavored rice, topped with very soft pieces of tofu, perhaps some bits of mushroom, green onion and of course the black bean sauce. Very mild flavor, the soft tofu was silky, the sticky rice had an unusual texture and flavor like sushi rice. Not overly impressed. Next the gyoza-- these were tasty, with the flavor of fresh vegetables inside. After eating so many giant chinese pork dumpling bombs, these were almost airy, and the fact that the vegetables and herb flavor was stronger than the meat was quite surprising. They were good, but I think I still like the chinese pork bombs better ;-) Lastly... the ramen. This was really good. A huge bowl, red broth glistening with a bit of hot oil, slices of spicy pork and mushrooms (#12 on the menu... called Nisi Ramen, I think?) After a lifetime of eating 25 cent dehydrated ramen packages (though granted, more in my college days and not recently!), the taste of real ramen was revelatory. I have no idea whether this is among the best ramen LA has to offer, but I do know that it was delicious and leagues beyond what is passed off as ramen in mainstream american food culture. Great stuff.
What are some other dont-miss places in the Sawtelle corridor? (and their specialty dishes)
Now that I'm a little familiar with the place, a primer would be most helpful.