Yasuhiro and I love ramen. We recently visited Hakata Ikkousha in Torrance, California and decided to review it for Endertech’s blog. This is our review.
Before we dive in, Yas and I just want to point out that Endertech is a very diverse company that embraces cultural diversity. For example, Yas has introduced the company to authentic Japanese restaurants near its offices. We’re quite fortunate in this sense that ET is located in Torrance which happens to have a large Japanese community, and thus a concentration of great Japanese restaurants. We hope to share our experiences of this unique region of L.A., as it is a big part of the workplace culture here at Endertech. We hope you enjoy this peek into daily life at Endertech.
Ikkousha sits in a non-descript strip mall on Western Ave. The restaurant’s unexceptional exterior suggests nothing about the quality of the ramen to be found inside.
Yas and I were greeted by a simple, comfortable interior and friendly waitstaff. We were quickly seated. The menu is straightforward and easy to understand. The ordering process is a little unconventional in that you fill out a small slip of paper, circling the options for your preferred type of ramen. The food arrived within a few minutes of ordering which is great because the ramen here is so soo good that it would be hard to wait very long for it.
I ordered Godfire Ramen (Level 2, out of four possible spiciness levels). The bowl of ramen that was placed before me looked beautiful: rich, orange-brown broth with fiery red streaks of congealed oil, the surface of the liquid broken by a tangled mass of pale thin noodles, a jumble of black-brown fungus, strips of grey pork, all accented by a pile of bright green onions.
While the pork is cut thin, tender, and falls apart to the touch, and the noodles are pleasingly chewy, the real star here is the broth. As I was midway through the bowl, I found myself alternating between half-closing my eyes and slowly savoring each spoonful of broth, and then quickly and hungrily scooping up another. Soon my forehead began to dampen with sweat and my sinuses came to life. The burning sensation in my mouth did not obscure and only added to the incredible flavor of the rich liquified pork broth…
Yas informed me that it’s common in Japan for people to not eat all the ramen broth. It’s seen as excessive and unhealthy. As an American, I devoured almost everything. Yas reassurred me that this was okay, and could be taken as a sign of the broth’s quality. I was happy to agree with that!
Finally, I sat back and pushed away the bowl. I felt lightheaded, fully satisfied, and like I had experienced something rare and good. The day now appeared clearly divided between pre-Godfire and post-Godfire. If you had been there, you would have heard me muttering, “omg… omg… that was [expletive deleted] incredible…”
Godfire Lvl 2 = simply amazing. Sublime. Heavenly. A near-religious experience. Thumbs up.
Hakata Ikkousha is a relatively new ramen spot in Torrance. It started around 2015 and quickly became the #1 place among fans. The L.A. area is saturated with so many ramen shops, but this place stands out. What separates Ikkousha from others is their Tonkotsu broth. It has the perfect balance of flavor and fullness.
I ordered their Standard Tonkotsu ramen (Toppings: Extra Green Onions, Steamed Vegetables).
When I eat here, I feel like I am back in Japan. The quality is that good. No wonder they won many awards in Japan before they decided to come to the U.S. market. They seem to be doing a great job of maintaining the authenticity of real Tonkotsu.
In my opinion, Ikkousha has the #1 Tonkotsu ramen in L.A.
Ikkousha’s website review (by Josh)
Endertech is a tech company, so along with reviewing its ramen, Yas and I thought we’d review Ikkousha’s digital online presence as well.
The great things about the site
The site is fast and all functionality works fine. The site appears to have been developed with a mobile-first approach which makes a lot of sense since many people look up restaurants on their phones while they are out and about and choosing where to eat.
Resturant locations and contact info are clearly presented – another must for a restaurant site. My hat’s off to whoever designed/developed the current incarnation of hakataikkousha.com.
The not-so-great-things about the site
Stripping bowls and plates of food out of the backgrounds of the original photos and placing them against a flat black background feels kitschy, down-market, and off-trend. Budget permitting, I would recommend that a pro photographer shoot the food in situ with pleasing, complementary backgrounds. The site’s typography could stand some improvement as well.
Conclusion: While Hakata Ikkousha’s site achieves the main goals that I think most restaurant-related websites have, it doesn’t rise to the same level as Ikkousha’s incredible food. As it stands now, Ikkousha’s website feels like that of an average Asian diner – not the world class ramen hotspot that it truly is. To achieve this, super flavorful typography and delicious photography would help a lot.
Name: Hakata Ikkousha Ramen, Torrance Shop
Address: 21605 S Western Ave, Ste J, Torrance, CA 90501
Business hours: 11:30〜15:00(L.O14:30), 17:00〜22:00(L.O21:30)
Number of seats: 40 (according to their official site)
Official Site (English): http://www.hakataikkoushausa.com/
Official Site (Japanese): http://www.ikkousha.com/