I wasn't sure how I was going to feel about Ramen Jinya before it opened. They are located in the strip of restaurants just down from the Library on Robson; the old Ezogiku Noodle spot. They were also a ramen joint and I was never really pleased with their soup. My anticipation was building every time I went by the remodel, however, as they had a giant poster in the window stating that Ramen Jinya was named "one of the 10 best dishes of 2010 in LA". Well, high praise indeed and after my first taste of my soup, I was a believer.
I have been for ramen four times in the last two weeks. It is almost hard for me to go anywhere else at the moment and I am a bit obsessed. The restaurant is fairly small with bar seating in the middle and table seating for maybe 34-40. I liked the renovation. The room is nice wood and tile, very warm and inviting. I am not the only person who thinks this as they have been packed, with a line out the door, every time I have been there.
My first trip was on the opening week so the place was packed with flowers. I like that tradition. I received one of the most enthusiastic greeting from a Japanese restaurant I have ever upon entering, I also love that tradition. I was taken aback a bit by the music they were playing that day. It sounded like we were listening to a sports radio station. On my second trip I realized that it was the audio for the projection TV that they had playing on a wall. They must not have had the video set up the first time.
I went with a Wonton Chicken Ramen $8.55 Chicken Broth : Wonton, Spinach, Green onion for my first visit.
Wow. The broth was so much better than I was expecting. It was rich and creamy, almost buttery, and so flavourful. Thankfully, it was not overly salty and I didn't need to drink a gallon of water after I was done. The wontons tasted really fresh and had a nice mix of chicken and onions. I liked the texture of the ramen as well, they were not soggy and had a nice bite to them. I felt it was the perfect serving size as well. Great dish.
On my second visit I went with the Shoyu Tonkotsu Ramen $8.55 Original pork broth,Pork chashu, Spinach, Bamboo, Green onion, Fried onion.
I liked this dish even better. The fattiness of the pork gave the broth a gravy like taste and the pork itself was so melt in your mouth tender. I love the fried onions. I am not sure how they prepare the bamboo shoots, but I have never eaten a tastier one.
They offer this dish in a miso broth as well, which I have tried. It was no where near bad, but I think I will stick to the original broth. I took Big M there for visit three and he had the pork dish with spicy broth. He said it was an okay amount of spiciness but I thought it was really spicy. He has a much higher threshold for spicy than I do.
They also offer a Vegetarian broth soup that I will try at some point but I can't seem to tear myself away from the pork...
Ramen Jinya is a fantastic addition to the Robson strip of restaurants. I am really happy with how this strip is shaping up. It looks like NU Greek is opening a store front next to Japadog soon. Awesome.
PS. I don't know who the people who voted they didn't like this place are. They certainly haven't left comments on the Urbanspoon page. I am always surprised when I like a place so much that has a low rating...