Friday night 12:30 am. I just got off work and I was exhausted and hungry. You all know that feeling. I was really craving Japanese food, so I drove down Sawtelle Blvd. in hopes that I would see that pink & blue colored savior: the open sign. No luck. I then turned around and headed down towards Benito’s from some lard-laden munchies. Just as I was about to turn on to Santa Monica from Sawtelle, I saw New Japan… with the visible neon sign. Yes. I walked in to see that there were actually quite a lot of people dining this hour. Everyone’s eyes were fixed on the TV as Al Bundy asked Peg “what’s for dinner?’ Zombies, just like me. The tables are made of that fake-lacquered wood and are quite sticky.
I perused the menu and made my decision once I saw Cha-Shu ramen, my favorite. Unfortunately I had to withdraw cash from the dinky in-store ATM. $1.75 surcharge. Bleh. The Cha-Shu ramen came out to $7.89 for the large bowl. And boy was it large. I first tested out the waters by drinking the soup… oh my god, it was terrible. It was salty and had been ruined by all the bamboo shoots they put in. you could tell that these shoots were from a large Costco bin b/c the juices weren’t drained out. Strike one. I tried the noodles next and shook my head. The noodles resembled dried, dried packaged ramen and on top of that, were overcooked. Did I really pay $7.89 for four-for-one-dollar nissin ramen? Strike two. Final test, the cha-shu. Ok it was tender, yet the pieces were kinda thin, unlike Ramenya’s. there was very little fat on it, which some people may deem as good, but I personally need a little marbling in my meat. Strike three.
I noticed that I was the only one eating ramen there. Everyone had rolls, gyoza dumplings and rice plates (katsu, chicken/beef teriyaki). I won’t throw New Japan out completely because after all, it IS better than eating at Benito’s. I’ll definitely try their rolls and rice plates next time I work late.
New Japan has an extensive, low-budget menu. You’ll find the popular dishes there, but just don’t expect it to be too delectable. When you’re tired/hungry/drunk, any kind of food is good. This place looks just like a dive minus the drinks. New Japan closes at 1:30 am. Checkout what other people had to say about NJ on Citysearch.com.
New Japan Take Out
11283 Santa Monica Blvd. (corner of Sawtelle)
Los Angeles, CA 90025
Sunday, July 31, 2005
Posted by e d b m at 11:44 PM