Saturday, December 20, 2014

Au Jus Serious?

Black-belt ramen at Ikemen



Quentin Tarantino couldn’t have location-scouted better for a new ramen joint than Ikemen, squished into a La Brea plaza alongside a Russian restaurant, liquor store, and massage parlor.

The ultra-noir interior with a central chandelier houses more bar seats than tables, while the chefs don fedoras backed by a soundtrack ripped from '70s car chase scenes.

The dishes are just as cinematic, especially the Johnny Dip, tsukemen noodles dipped into a homemade tonkotsu au jus with green onions and Italian basil.

Sean Nakamura, a celebrity ramen legend, trained the head chef.

The Dragon Ball appetizer (fried shrimp balls with a tangy sauce) and exotic toppings from bonito flakes to Onsen Tamago (a hot spring-boiled egg) add depth to any dish.

Adding a wrinkle? Ikemen takes cash only, and doesn't serve booze — yet.

Until they do, head up the hill for drinks at Yamashiro to continue the Tarantino theme. Just don't hurt anybody.

Ikemen
1655 N. La Brea Ave. (and Hollywood), Hollywood (323) 800-7669
ikemenhollywood.com

Price: 2 (out of 4) Noise: 2 (out of 4)
Parking: Tiny lot, street or paid lot across the street
Scene: Industry types; artsy neighborhood couples
Best bets: Johnny Dip; Bonito Dashi
Hot seat: Any of the five at the ramen bar
Nearby: MyHouse Nightclub; Roosevelt Hotel; Yamashiro

The Rundown's restaurant reviews are based on anonymous visits by reporters, not press releases.

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