Oji Ramen sits across the street from the two malls of Japantown, tucked away in the small cluster of ramen shops that have a respectable, steady draw of customers. I was curious because, as far as I can tell, this place opened a couple months ago. Notably, I caught sight of a sign that said “soft opening” while I was on my way to a different place to get a different bowl of ramen before a night of karaoke. I decided to visit about a week ago after work. Well, the story’s a little more complicated but ultimately not that interesting and this isn’t a recipe blog so I have no incentive to dive into a 12-page prologue.
I got the Spicy Shio Ramen and it was, well, good. The noodles were straight, chewy and snappy, but a little softer than I prefer personally. Reminiscent of just past al-dente spaghetti, to be honest, but I’ve had much worse before. It was decent enough.
The broth was solidly decent, the chicken dashi being, admittedly unrecognizable as chicken, just as vaguely meaty, but the flavor of the bonito was still present. Also, to be fair, chicken is the vaguest meat, so I have no real issues with “it was meaty and savory but it’s definitely not beef or pork.” The hot oil they dripped over was nice, a little peppery, a little chili-y. Overall, the mouthfeel of it was good. It went down smooth, and I even went for a couple spoonfuls of broth after all the noodles were gone.
The toppings were a traditional array, and generous enough. Two slices of roast pork which were solidly okay. Like one step below the platonic ideal of ramen chashu; good enough to consume the meat product. And then the usual suspects: bamboo shoots, naruto fish cakes, a ramen egg, etc.
The experience of eating here was overall solidly okay to good. It was a salty, oily bowl of chicken noodle soup with some slices of pork. I ate all the solids, took a couple sips of broth afterwards, then drank the rest of my beer and felt satisfied. And sometimes that’s all you can really ask. It’s really solidly in the B-Tier for being a good eating experience, just not one I would necessarily make the effort to come back to. Maybe if all three of the places I’d rather eat at in Japantown were booked up to an hour wait, I might consider it. Which isn’t a knock against the restaurant, just that there are better ramen places within walking distance of the mall.
Also, the sink was pretty good; mind the fact that I’m not providing pictures, I’d feel weird about taking pictures in a bathroom. Plus, I’m fairly certain it’s not strictly legal to take pictures in a bathroom in California. At any rate, the sink was extremely utilitarian. It did absolutely nothing for me aesthetically; it was just porcelain. However, the bowl of the sink was adequately wide and deep, and I wasn’t afraid the water was going to splash out everywhere while washing my hands. The handles were metal and weren’t obnoxious to tackle. A solid A-Tier sink.
Oji Ramen is B-Tier
Oji Ramen’s Sink is A-Tier