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Dining Out:

Oodles of noodles at Takeshi Ramen

October 27, 2007|By Joanna Linkchorst

My husband has visited Japan several times on business trips, and when he comes back, we ask him what he ate. He’ll say something like, “It was tan, and had some green stuff floating in it, and had a fried egg on top. It was really, really good.” So he was happy to find in Glendale a Japanese restaurant with menus in English.

Warm and calming, Takeshi Ramen has dark wood, paper lanterns, Japanese prints hanging on green walls and TBS on the flat-screen TV. It’s not a large place, but comfortable.

There were 25 appetizers to choose from, and I went with the recommended gyoza ($3.95). My pork and chicken dumplings, with a little crunchy vegetable, were pan fried, but they also come deep fried.

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They offer salads like crab meat and avocado ($6.95) and fried calamari and seaweed ($7.95), and several rice dishes as well as cold noodles like Zarusoba, which is green tea noodles with a cold dipping sauce ($5.95).

I decided to taste the ramen, so I had my first miso soup. My husband said miso is pretty innocuous and tends to take on the flavor of whatever is in it. He was right. When I had a bite of my crispy chicken, the opaque broth had a fried flavor. It was bitter with the bok choi and rather tasty with green onions. It seemed to taste even better as the flavors melded. The chicken ramen came in soy-sauce-based soup, clear soup or the miso ($6.95).

The noodles are long, but my deep bowl came with a neat bamboo ladle. I watched other diners place the ladle under their noodles as they munched, then sipped the broth. Apparently in Japan, splashing is frowned upon, but slurping is OK. I don’t know if the business lunch crowd here in Glendale would agree.

Hubby ordered from the fabulous little lunch menu. For $6.95, you choose from three different ramen, or two rice bowls, and a side order comes with it. I was surprised to learn that curry is common in Japan, and he got a curry chicken rice bowl that smelled wonderful! We also chose the curry croquette as a side, a lovely curry-flavored potato and vegetable cake, breaded and deep fried.

Part of the lunch specials are select iced tea beverages like floral jasmine tea ($1.95), rather sweet, and milk tea ($2.95), very creamy, served in tall thin glasses sold buy one get one free.

They were nice-sized meals so we were too full to try the desserts, but the fruits on shaved ice ($3.50 to $4.50) and ice cream, sorbet or mochi (ice cream wrapped in a thin layer of pounded sweet rice, $1.75) looked like fun to try.

The menu items are numbered for easy communication. Our chopsticks (next to our forks) were mildly decorated and didn’t have to be pulled apart and rubbed together to remove splitters. The instructions on the wrappers weren’t any better, though.

Parking behind the restaurant at the Exchange on Maryland is validated up to two hours, but there is no back entrance.

Takeshi is a lovely place for a warm meal as Los Angeles slowly cools down to winter.


 JOANNA LINKCHORST is a lifelong resident of La Crescenta. She can be reached at Joanna@vveagles.com.  JOANNA LINKCHORST is a lifelong resident of La Crescenta. She can be reached at Joanna@vveagles.com.

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