LOVE RAMEN

ADDRESS: 2787 West Avenue L, Lancaster, CA 93536

WEBSITE: http://www.loveramenca.com/

During my previous business trip out to the Palmdale area, I had given another local ramen shop called Raizel Ramen a try. For my taste, I thought that their ramen was only average at best, with their broth complexity really needing some work. The topic of ramen came up when I was talking with my friend Angie, and she said her go-to spot was a place in Lancaster called Love Ramen. So the night before she was flying back to college, we decided to meet up over there.

In total, there were 17 different ramen choices on the menu, covering pork broth to chicken broth to vegetable broth. I’ve always been more of a tonkotsu (pork broth) type of person, but with that many choices, I deferred to the expert on what was good. Angie mentioned that she’s had the spicy tonkotsu miso in the past, and that’s always been a reliable option. Pork broth combined with spicy miso, topped with pork char siu, seasoned egg, sweet corn, scallions, and sesame seeds. That sounded right up my alley, so I ordered that with an extra helping of char siu.

I liked the layout of the inside, with its mix of booths, four-person tables, and two-person tables able to accommodate crowds of different sizes. The Japanese-style art on the walls complemented the casual atmosphere inside the space very nicely as well. We actually ended up staying at the restaurant until it got dark outside; once there wasn’t any more natural light coming through the large windows in the front, the interior lighting did a good job keeping things well-lit.

The first item out of the kitchen was the appetizer order of chicken karaage that we had put in. I would equate it to Japanese-style fried chicken nuggets, and they were pretty good. Served with a side of “cajun volcano sauce,” the nuggets managed to get a nice, thin coating of breading to have a crispy exterior, but still juicy chicken on the inside.

There are some chicken nuggets I’ve eaten where I feel like the breading completely overpowered the chicken, but certainly not these. The cajun volcano sauce was a nice pairing as well, providing that savory and spicy kick to dip the chicken in. I suspect that it’s a mixture between Japanese mayo and Sriracha sauce, which is one of my favorite condiment mixtures to use.

When the ramen first came out of the kitchen, I could see that it was a proper-sized ramen bowl for sure. It’s one that you need two hands to pick up when you’re going in to finish off the broth at the end. I was certainly excited to get started digging into it.

The key to ramen, in my opinion, lies within the broth itself. I took one sip from the bowl and could immediately taste the different layers of flavors. The inherent richness from the pork bone broth was enhanced by the earthy flavors of the miso, coupled together with the spicy aftertaste from the addition of chili oil. What I appreciated about the heat level of the broth was that even if I was eating a lot of it, the spiciness stayed pretty even at just that slight burn on your tongue. (Although by the time I had gotten through most of it, I can imagine I’d broken a slight sweat.)

When the broth of the ramen is on point, that only helps to elevate the rest of the ingredients inside the bowl as well. The noodles were able to soak up a lot of that pork flavor, and I think the char siu actually took on a bit of the spiciness as well. An added bonus was that the char siu slices also got to tenderize even further by sitting in the steaming hot broth. I thought the corn was an interesting topping to pair with the ramen though. In the future, I might ask for that to be substituted for either bean sprouts or some garlic chips to mix in better with some of the other items in the bowl.

If you’re looking for a way to help satisfy your ramen cravings, take a stop in to Love Ramen. The diverse options on their menu can help provide other opportunities to explore different flavor combinations. For my ramen in particular, the robust flavors within the ramen broth were key to bringing the whole dish together, and I walked away feeling very satisfied. I just might be adding this place to my rotation of restaurants whenever I’m back out in the area for my business trips.

Let’s now take a look at the Love Ramen Dish Spotlight. Asterisks (*) below mark my recommended dishes.

** Chicken Karaage **
Bite-sized chicken breaded and fried, served with “cajun volcano” sauce.

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** Spicy Tonkotsu Miso Ramen **
Pork broth enhanced with miso and chili oil, topped with pork char siu, seasoned egg, sweet corn, scallions, and sesame seeds.

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And finally, here are my rankings for Love Ramen:

Food: 4.5 / 5

With 17 different types of ramen to choose from, there’s plenty of flavor diversity available to try on the menu. The broth is the key to a good ramen, and they were able to nail the flavor layering on my spicy tonkotsu miso. You won’t walk away hungry after downing one of these hearty bowls of ramen.

Atmosphere: 4.25 / 5

The table layout inside the dining area made it feel pretty spacious, where the next table over wasn’t crowded right on top of you. It was well-lit and the Japanese-themed art up on the walls provided a casual feel to the place.

Service: 4 / 5

I’m always impressed at just how fast ramen shops crank out the food. In our case, it felt like we weren’t waiting long at all for both our chicken karaage appetizer as well as our bowls of ramen. The waitstaff swung by our table several different times to check in on us as well.

Price: 4.25 / 5

For the quantity of ramen that you get, I thought that the price was definitely worth it. My bowl along with the extra helping of char siu came out to be $12, with the chicken karaage appetizer also coming in at $6.

Overall:
17 / 20
(85%)

Categories: California, Restaurants

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