With its origins as a ramen stall at a Kyoto train station, Tentenyu has been in business for 45 years, perfecting its rich chicken ramen. Last month, they branched out overseas, opening their first US location on Sawtelle Blvd.
When we visited, fortune smiled upon us (or maybe it was just the sunshine) as we did not have to wait to be seated. Since it was a nice day, we sat outside and watched people walking by, happily playing Pokemon Go.
The Tori Paitan ramen, their claim to fame, features a very thick chicken broth. They simmer chicken for over 10 hours, which results in a highly rich soup. The skinny ramen is accented with thin slices of chashu, green onions and the best tasting bamboo shoots I’ve ever had. Our good luck continued as they were offering a free egg with each bowl of ramen (if you get asked, say yes).
The Spicy Ramen adds red pepper flakes and spicy paste to the basic Tori Paitan.
If it’s a hot day, you may want to choose the Tsukemen, cold noodles which comes with a broth to dip them into. (For those fans of Portlandia, you may remember the show’s season finale was about Tsukemen, including its proper pronunciation and a Noodle Monster, but I digress).
The dipping noodles are entirely different from the thin noodles in the ramen bowls.
These are thicker and curlier, making it easier for the rich broth to cling to the noodles. The broth is made from both chicken and pork, with some cheese to give it an added richness.
The noodles and broth were very good, as were the chunks of pork, if a little fatty.
You can enhance your ramen with pickled ginger, lemon and/or “ramen sauce” (I have no idea what it was) for a different flavor. Each table even has a card with instructions on how to eat tsukemen.
Service was super friendly, and they genuinely seemed to want you to enjoy your dining experience.
Tentenyu isn’t quite the scene as the famed Tsujita down the street. There isn’t a huge crowd out front, and the broth here is lighter, probably because its mostly chicken-based. Unlike Tsujita, Tentenyu accepts credit cards, and they have a free parking lot in back of the restaurant – a HUGE bonus as parking in the neighborhood is notoriously difficult. If you’re in the mood for ramen, Tentenyu is worth a visit. Plus, you can take advantage of its sweet location near some hotspots and rack up your Pokemon Go score.
As of June 18, 2018, this location is closed. Please visit Tentenyu in Culver City at 3849 Main St. Culver City, CA, 90232.
Location – 2012 Sawtelle Blvd., Los Angeles 90025
Website – http://www.tentenyu-us.com
Kid-Friendly – Yes
Kid’s Menu – No
Pesco-Vegetarian Friendly – No
Vegetarian/Vegan Friendly – Yes
Gluten-Free Options – Yes, they have a chashu rice bowl.