132 So. Central Street
Los Angeles, CA 90013
A few weeks back D and I procured a nasty little case of salmonella food poisoning from food we ordered in, nothing crazy, just one of our regular places. No names mentioned, they were extremely kind about it although they claimed we were the only complainants. I ended up stranded in Santa Cruz on a 100% unproductive business trip, rolling around in a hotel room bed moaning for two days at various volumes and whatnot while D suffered at home alone. Finally able to return home, we spent another 36 hours sleeping off the remnants. Point being, our first meal in three+ days was ramen. There is nothing better for what ails you than a well crafted broth, some beautiful noodles and a bright cheery atmosphere.
We sat at the bar in the space formerly known as the now defunct Izayoi, my ex-most favorite izakaya. Sigh. If Izayoi had to go, this is a worthy replacement. Ironically, I thought Little Tokyo was previously lacking in excellent ramen, Daikokuya really being the only worthy venue. Couple the wait at Daikokuya with my husband's lack of patience for waiting and it's happy I am that there is a new ramen locale right in time for cold weather.
I like Shin Sen Gumi's style. One basic broth with lots of options for additives you fill in yourself on a sushi style menu, add a few signature creations located at the bottom of the menu. I was looking for simplicity on the date in question ergo I settled on the basic ramen with a few run of the mill extras.
Spicy miso. One does not order spicy miso broth, instead the waiter brings you a beautiful little red ball of spicy miso paste and you can flavor it to your liking.
I added corn and lots of seaweed. D had a little army of side dishes to the right of his giant bowl. Trying to be gentle to my tender tummy, I couldn't really look at too many flavors. But next time I intend to get crazy. Really light that place on fire.
The outcome. Delicious but not the best I have ever had purely judging the broth alone. In descending order comes first and always Rokuan in Chino Hills. Second, Daikokuya. Shin Sen Gumi is third, again based solely on broth. The broth at Shin Sen Gumi is clear, light and salty, while I love dark, deep and murky. I prefer the atmosphere at Shin Sen Gumi to all three, it's light, bright, bustling and loud af. Love the approach with regard to ordering. It's never quite as busy as Daikokuya (D goes often), and it's a helluva lot closer than Chino Hills.
When my iron clad stomach returns (and it has not as of this posting), I will visit Shin Sen Gumi to try the most exotic sounding signature creation, eat it while drinking lots of sake, dance on the tables and spit into the wind.