If we haven't already reached peak ramen, that day must surely fast be approaching. Those who subscribe to a certain set of L.A. food blogs know the current boom of new-wave noodle houses all too well--nary a day goes by before a new ramen joint is dissected and its relative merits and shortcomings are ranked in the vast ramen hierarchy.
But the charms of ramen, of course, are many: the porky glory of a good tonkotsu broth, the epiphanic moment of your first bowl of tsukemen. And Menya Iroha, a Japanese mini-chain from Toyama, brings even more new flavors with its grand opening (and first U.S. branch) inside Marukai Market in Gardena yesterday.
Menya Iroha's specialty is black soy ramen, a noodle soup that features a murky black broth made most notably from soy sauce and black soybeans. A couple slices of fatty pork, a slow-cooked egg, seaweed and green onions complete the bowl. There are other ramen variations at Menya Iroha, but that black soy ramen is what repeatedly won the restaurant awards.
Would it be wise to try the place before the rest of the ramen-loving world descends upon it? It couldn't hurt. But can you count on intrepid blogger Rameniac to have already tried a ready-made bag of Menya Iroha's signature ramen? Of course you can.
Menya Iroha (link is in Japanese), Inside Marukai Market, 1740 W. Artesia Blvd., Gardena, (310) 660-630.