By the time I got to Orochon Ramen, my dinner mates were like grumpy bears. The table was cramped and they’d ordered drinks that never materialized. I was undaunted. Parking was easier than I thought it would be in Downtown Burbank, and I liked what they’d done with the place. Their clever use of inexpensive pine and paper turned a cavernous ex-Tony Roma’s into a sleek Japanese eatery. We switched to a more spacious table and as soon as the waitress arrived, reiterated our drink requests and cheerfully ordered our food.
A plate of crispy dumplings arrived in a couple minutes. Things were starting to look up.
The dumplings ($3.50) were nicely browned, with a mousse-like filling. Our sweet (but not-so-efficient) waitress suggested mixing a little from all three cruets on the table for a tasty dipping sauce: soy sauce, rice vinegar and toasted sesame oil. She was right. Those cruets kept coming in handy all evening. Also handy was the stash of napkins, straws and chopsticks in a “secret” drawer built into the table like a Japanese puzzle box.