It was Friday night and Penelope got off after midnight. I was hungry for some hot ramen goodness so I hopped in the lopers' car and we headed down to my favorite area for late night dining, Little Tokyo. In my quest to try every restaurant in LT, starting with the spots that are open late, I have been to most of the eateries along First street south of San Pedro. Although my favorite low price restaurant is currently Suehiro, I was recently referred to Daikokuya in the comments on my post about Mr. Ramen.
The atmosphere in Daikohuya is casual like most of the restaurants along First that are open late. When we showed up all the tables were full we opted to sit at the bar in front of the stainless steel pony wall that is labeled "Hot Don't Toutch"(sic). Of course being the
curious foolish people that we are we decided to touch the metal plate to see how hot it was, as it turns out it was just slightly warm and we used it to fend of the icy chill of the uncommonly cold LA weather.
The waitress was attentive and friendly and took our drink order promptly. They have Kirin on tap, which is awesome and if I was feeling a little more adventurous I would have ordered a whole pitcher, but instead I just had a mug of the bubbly stuff and a large hot sake. When our drinks came I ordered the ramen with extra pork and tsukemono which is a selection of japanese pickles.
Being that we were sitting right in front of the kitchen we were able to watch the new latino recruit prepare our ramen under close supervision of his japanese boss. He first opened up a bag of cooked noodles and put them into a cone shaped strainer. Then he dipped the strainer into a large aluminum cauldron filled with boiling water. After the time started beeping he fished out the noodles and put them into the bowl of broth along with a pickled egg that according to the menu was soaked overnight in their secret sauce, several slices of black pork, toasted sesames and chopped scallions.
The broth wasn't as steamy as I would have liked it to be but the flavor was spot on, I will have to go back and taste the broth again to be sure, but I think I like Mr. Ramen's broth better. Unfortunately the pork slices were cold as was the egg and I think that there was some data corruption somewhere in the ordering transaction and the extra pork bit was swapped with the extra onions bit, or possibly they normally put a huge scoop of onions on there. I'll blame the new guy for now. The noodles were firm, but not underdone although I think I also liked Mr. Ramen's more curly and clear noodles a bit better.
The tsukemono was quite good. I particularly enjoyed the yellow daikon wrapped around toasted sesame seeds and shizo leaf. I need to learn more about tsukemono as I don't know what the green or brown pickles were, but I think the brown ones where some type of kelp and the green ones cucumbers.
All in all I enjoyed the whole Daikokuya experience and I'm sure I will eat there in the future. [The other photos can be found here.]