Thursday, August 1, 2013

Ramen House Benten - San Gabriel

Recently I drove by the restaurant that used to known as Ton-Chan. Before that it was called Ajiman's. Obviously, there has been a lot of turnover at this location. It may have something to do with the fact that this space is located right next to the very popular Golden Deli which always has a long line in front no matter what time of day you go. You would think that since GD is always so busy that whatever nearby restaurants would catch the over-spill of customers but GD devotees are hardcore. They are not phased by the long wait nor the very cramped seating inside. I guess the stomach wants what the stomach wants.

I should probably stop talking about Golden Deli since this is not a post about them but rather about the new restaurant that has taken over the space next door called Ramen House Benten. I was excited that it was another ramen house but was also wary that it would be "just" another ramen house.

We walked in and noticed right away that the place has been simplified, I guess some would call it Zen. White walls, a couple of wooden tables, black curtains separating the dining area from the kitchen and this black board with the entire menu written on it. The prices are very similar to the place that use to occupy this space but the menu has gotten a lot...well simple. Only four items to choose from. Maybe that's a good thing, maybe it's a bad thing.

We came in for an early dinner on a Sunday so the place was not too crowded. Not sure what the normal wait time is during peak hours. We were seated right away and the waiter brought us complimentary organic rooibos or green tea!

After taking our orders, the waiter points our attention to some plastic containers on the table that contained bibs and hair ties. How accommodating!

Spicy Miso Ramen - this is not my order but I did taste it and it was pretty spicy and delicious! You can't really see the noodles in this picture but it is the wavy kind, similar to the noodles from Santouka. I'm definitely going to have to go back and get this bowl.

Shoyu Ramen - this was pretty good. It reminded me a little bit of the ramen from Jinya down in Costa Mesa but that location has shut down now so this opening is impeccably timed just for my benefit. :0D The broth is very flavorful and not too oily. The noodles in the shoyu ramen are thin and I'm not really a fan of that but I can't really knock this bowl just for that since it is a personal preference. The egg is runny on the inside AND injected with broth so that when you take that first bite, all that broth comes bursting out. I don't know how I felt about all that broth injection. It kind of diluted the taste of the yolk a bit.

Fruit and Herbs infused lemonade! Yum.

This place is definitely worth a return trip.

Ramen House Benten
821 W. Las Tunas Drive
San Gabriel, CA 91776
(626) 910-5075

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