|Making noodles at Monzo/Photo: Midtown Lunch|
Monzo took over the former Fat Spoon space for hot and cold udon, curry udon, plus specialties like rich miso udon carbonara and tempura. The noodles are all handmade right there - you'll see the guys pulling and cutting - and according to Midtown Lunch, who took an early look this week, they're damn near perfect. Monzo is open for lunch 11 AM-2:30 PM and 5-10 PM; closed Mondays (329 E. 1st St.; 213-346-9762).
Cooks are constantly handmaking noodles at the new Tsurumaru, a Japanese import now open on the third floor of the Little Tokyo Shopping Mall near Shojin and Honda-Ya. This is more of a quick-serve customizable experience, where you choose the size of hot or cold noodles, broth and toppings for your udon, everything from green onion, tofu and seaweed to tonkatsu (fried pork cutlet) and tempura. Prices start around $5. Tsurumaru opens 11 AM to 9 PM daily, and even delivers (333 S. Alameda St.; 213-625-0441).