1/29/2013 02:10:00 PM

Winter Ramen Almanac: Ikemen, Men Oh Tokushima, Silver Lake Ramen

Ikemen's dip ramen, now in Little Tokyo
Noodle houses have been opening across LA at a pretty fast clip over the last year, so fast that a few have slipped (slurped?) past us. Here are three newcomers, starting with a a new Ikemen location that just debuted in Little Tokyo yesterday. It's not as big as the original Hollywood spot - it only seats 25 people, according to Squid Ink - but it has the same "NO RAMEN, NO LIFE" brightly lit sign, sleek black tables and posters of Japanese action stars on the walls. Ikemen specializes in tsukemen, or dip ramen, where you dip the noodles in broth instead of slurping them from a steaming hot bowl. But like the staffers wearing their ties, vests and fedoras, the flavors have a lot more character: roasted garlic, tomato with basil pesto, or mushroom with blow-torched marshmallow are just a few dishes from the menu, and all have quirky movie-inspired names to match. Ikemen is open from 11:30 AM-11:30 PM (123 S Onizuka St.).

Nearby, San Francisco-import Men Oh Tokushima Ramen opened a compact 29-seat space in Little Tokyo's Honda Plaza last fall. Men Oh's signature style of ramen comes from Tokushima, on the island of Shikoku, which is known for its pig farming, and thus rich pig-flavored broth made with the bones. The bowls are often topped with stir-fried pork belly or raw or poached egg, and you're given rice to soak up the brothy remains after you're done slurping the noodles. There are several locations in Japan and a couple in SF, but this is the first in LA (456 E. 2nd St.; 213-687-8485).

In hipsterville, Silverlake Ramen replaced a pupuseria next to the Thirsty Crow a few months ago. The space is sparse and clean, with a few tables and counter seats, where the skinny-jean set is happy to sit and slurp pretty straightforward tonkatsu ramen and the like. This being Silver Lake, there's a decent veggie option, too (2927 W. Sunset Blvd.).


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