Sunday, July 31, 2005

Long Night in West LA

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

New Japan Take Out
11283 Santa Monica Blvd. (corner of Sawtelle)
Los Angeles, CA 90025
(310) 477-0557


BoLA said...

Yeah, it sure must have been a LONG night in West LA if you ended up at New Japan. There's really nothing all that "new" about it, but I guess it *is* better than Yoshinoya's. (Are they even still around?!)

We'll have to get together again really soon. My partner in epicurean crime and I are going to try to make Chicken Tikka Masala this weekend with rice and something that's like Na'an (but not b/c we don't have the right kind of oven). Have you tried to make Indian before? Any tips?

Daily Gluttony said...

Oh my. Memories of New Japan haunt me from my days at UCLA years ago. I always knew it wasn't all that good, but all of us idiot (and poor!) students kept flocking there anyways. In hindsight, there would have been so many better (and just as cheap!) options. Oh well.

e d b m said...

kristy, there's a cool cooking class called . my friend and i had tried to enroll in the indian cooking class, but it was full. maybe you can do that with MS. looks really fun. he can learn a few recipes outside of oscar meyer sandwiches. haha.

e d b m said...

pam, if i was still in college... i'd be lucky to even eat this stuff. aside from all the usual hotdogs and instant noodles. nutritious stuff, yet a fun part of life.

BoLA said...


My g/f took an Indian cooking class b/c she only knew how to make the vegetarian Indian dishes and wanted to learn more meat dishes. She gave me all the recipes that came along with that class. I'd be more than happy to share them with you. oOooo..I just bought a blender and had my first shopping experience at an Indian market. Should have had my camera for that one! Doh! Next time, for sure...

And yeah, Mac and I talked about taking a cooking class together. Maybe when he's done with his exam this month... :)

Mark said...

This place reminds me of a Japanese place in the food court of a mall. It's edible if you are hungry and that's about it. A little surprised since it seems that they had nihonjins working there. I only ate here because I had to meet some random people across the street to sell some Franz Ferdinand tickets. Hey Die Lawn, remember what we did for "recreation" at Franz? haha.

joanh said...

hahah. I actually like their california rolls.. and sometimes we'll get the combo beef and chicken teriyaki with california rolls.. but I've tried other things there and they weren't so good.... but it's been good for take-out late late at night.

Anonymous said...

That food there is for emergencies only! Helps if your blood alchol is at illegal levels.

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