Ramen Champ has been open just over two months now and it’s still the talk of the DTLA restaurant scene. People line up and wait to get seated in the 22-seat eatery on the second level of the Far East Plaza on Broadway in Chinatown. As their name implies, they serve ramen noodles. Yes, the same ramen noodles you lived on in college with a lot more fresh and flavorful ingredients, and a bigger price tag.
We lucked out. The night my husband, sister and I went we only waited outside a few minutes while the host explained the menu. We did not realize that you placed your orders while in line and then you were seated inside at the counter once your food was ready.
We started with the Tako Tots (above), crispy potato fritters with octopus and salted cod, topped with house takoyaki sauce, spicy mayo, chives, katsobushi and aonori-ko ($5.50). We loved them.
Up next was the mushroom appetizer (above), battered and deep fried Hon Shimeji mushrooms, served with roasted garlic shoyu aioli and garnished with crispy shiso leaves ($5). Another home run. I love my husband and sister, but I didn’t want to share. They are that good!
For our main course we each ordered a different ramen dish (tonkostu $12.99, shitake $10.99 and chicken $12.99), plus a chashu pork and rice bowl ($4.50). We did not grow up eating ramen so we are not ramen experts. We enjoyed it, but not as much as the Tako Tots and Fried Mushrooms. The ramen is not easy to eat, but I think that is kind of the fun of it. My sister finally gave up and had to ask for a traditional spoon.
I’m sure you can find cheaper ramen dishes down the street somewhere in Chinatown, but you probably won’t find the ultra friendly staff or the cool hip atmosphere. I think you need to give Ramen Champ a try, and please let me know what you think in the comments section below.
Ramen Champ 727 No. Broadway (in the Far East Plaza) in Chinatown 213.316.8595