ADDRESS: 2927 Sunset Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90026
For quite some time, my friend Erik has been telling me about a ramen place down in LA that he’s frequented quite a bit called Silverlake Ramen. We had talked about heading down to one of their locations together so that he could introduce me to it, but our schedules never seemed to be able to line up. But fortunately, a little while back, we found a good timeframe where we drove down to Silverlake’s Sunset Boulevard location, which is actually their OG spot.
Silverlake Ramen started back in 2012 and has now expanded quite a bit since its humble beginnings. With 28 locations in six different states, this ramen shop can apparently have long lines of people waiting outside to get their fix. Knowing this ahead of time, Erik and I decided to try to head down early to see if we could beat the crowd. Sure enough, our plan worked, as we were able to just walk in and snag one of the last few remaining open tables.
Your choice of ramen was primarily between either tonkotsu (pork) broth or shoyu (soy sauce) broth. But if you weren’t in the mood for ramen specifically, they also have options that span across different rice bowls and sushi rolls, in addition to some other appetizer plates as well. Us getting the ramen was a given, so it was a matter of what kind of appetizers we wanted to pair up with our bowls of noodles. We were in a rather hungry mood, so we went with three different appetizers: the Deep Fried Pork Gyoza, Crispy Rice with Spicy Tuna, and Chicken Karaage. For my ramen, I decided to go with the Blaze Tonkotsu, with an added piece of pork belly for good measure.
This particular location isn’t too large, and could probably sit a little over 30 people or so. I could definitely see how this place could start getting packed with people lining up out the door if that was the case. But the service definitely seemed relatively fast, so they were able to get people their food and turn the tables pretty quickly. By the time that we were leaving around 6PM, there was already a pretty good sized line already forming outside.
We definitely didn’t have long to wait before our appetizers were rolling out of the kitchen. Our gyoza came out first, followed by the chicken karaage not too far behind it. I haven’t had deep fried gyoza in a little while, but the gyoza was pretty flavorful, and the spicy mayo dipping sauce that came with it paired well with each bite. I also thought that the chicken karaage was pretty good as well, also with the same spicy mayo dipping sauce as the gyoza. (I did have to be cautious, since my friend Michele warned me that one time, her chicken karaage looked cooked on the outside, but came out raw in the middle.)
We were about halfway done with both the gyoza and karaage plates when our crispy rice came out. Two pieces ended up being perfect to split. Each block of crispy rice was topped with avocado, spicy tuna, a jalapeño slice, and a drizzle of eel sauce. It probably should be a two-biter, but I ended up fitting the entire thing in my mouth (although it took me a minute to chew everything). I thought that the appetizer was good, but it wasn’t something that stood out as definitely needing to get on a subsequent visit. My only issue was that the crispy rice was a little too solid of a block for my liking, with a bit too much crunch.
But at last, it was time for the main event. Our ramen bowls came out, and they were certainly some hefty bowls of food. When looking at the menu, I thought that just having one slice of pork belly was a bit meager, which is why I decided to throw in that extra slice. But seeing just how thick one slice of the pork belly was, I knew why the restaurant felt that one slice was good as a starting point. (Don’t get me wrong though, that second slice of pork belly was still fantastic.) I ended up getting medium spice level for my broth, and that was a pretty comfortable level for me. I could tell that the broth had some heat to it (possibly from some added chili oil), but it was just enough to the point that I felt the heat simmering in my mouth and not too overwhelming.
Pork belly, spinach, seaweed, bean sprouts, soft-boiled egg, and green onions were the primary ingredients within the bowl of ramen, and I think that they were all portioned out pretty well to complement the amount of noodles and broth that were in the bowl itself. For the tonkotsu broth, I thought that it definitely had a rich umami flavor, coupled with savory, spicy, and slightly sweet flavors as well. One thing that I like about ramen is how the noodles can soak up all of the flavor from the broth, and these definitely did that for sure. It was a really filling bowl of food, and I was honestly very surprised that I was able to finish everything, broth and all.
I’m glad to have tried out another ramen spot out in the LA area. While it doesn’t unseat my favorite ramen spot up to this point, the ramen does seem to be pretty high quality, and I could see why people would want to wait in line to grab a bowl. The menu also offers enough variety of small plates that you could be very easily satisfied getting a bowl of ramen along with an appetizer to complement things. If you’re looking for a solid spot to pick up some ramen, definitely give Silverlake Ramen a try. There’s certainly a reason why they are still so popular, even after 11 years since they first opened.
Let’s now take a look at the Silverlake Ramen Dish Spotlight. Asterisks (*) below mark my recommended dishes.
** Deep Fried Pork Gyoza **
Pork gyoza served with spicy mayo dipping sauce. (Combo appetizer size pictured.)
** Chicken Karaage **
Breaded chicken thigh pieces, deep-fried and served with spicy mayo dipping sauce. (Combo appetizer size pictured.)
** Crispy Rice with Spicy Tuna **
Spicy tuna, avocado and a jalapeño slice on a bed of crispy rice, with a drizzle of eel sauce.
** Blaze Tonkotsu Ramen **
Pork broth base with ramen noodles, bean sprouts, spinach, soft-boiled egg, seaweed, scallions, and pork belly. (Pictured with additional pork belly slice.)
And finally, here are my rankings for Silverlake Ramen:
Food: 4.5 / 5
The food quality itself felt pretty good, with nice, rich flavors coming from the ramen and its ingredients, along with a small variety of other options on the menu as well, if you were looking to change things up.
Atmosphere: 4 / 5
As the OG spot for Silverlake Ramen, the interior was definitely more functional in terms of layout. The dining area could definitely feel slightly crowded at times, since the tables were kind of stacked right next to you. I do like how the original sign from the restaurant is still up, in addition to the newer logo the restaurant has now adopted.
Service: 4 / 5
Our waitress came around a couple of times to check in with us to see how we were doing. The kitchen was definitely pretty quick to turn around the food and keep people moving in and out of the restaurant.
Price: 4.25 / 5
We took advantage of the dine-in combo deal of a bowl of ramen and a small appetizer plate for $19. Considering that a bowl of ramen alone can already be $16, that was some pretty good pricing. But for pricing taken on its own, some things do tend to lean a bit more on the expensive side.
16.75 / 20
Categories: Restaurants, California
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