FX Excursions

FX Excursions offers the chance for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in destinations around the world.
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9th Street Ramen Review

by Elyse Glickman

Apr 29, 2020

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eFlyer Reviews

If you want to impress about how in the loop you are with L.A.’s ever-evolving downtown scene, plan an outing (post quarantine, of course) in the Fashion District. It has come a long way in the past decade, from a hard-scrabble grid of apparel wholesalers to an artsy urban enclave with an eclectic spread of cutting-edge boutiques, coffee houses and restaurants.

Here, the insanely inventive chef Luke Reyes (of Netflix’s Cooking on High and Food Network’s CHOPPED fame) and co-owner/designer Devin Carlson are figuratively and literally feeding this ascending neighborhood’s zeitgeist with the unveiling of 9th Street Ramen. Ramen restaurants throughout Los Angeles continue to conjure long lines, and 9th Street Ramen is already proving no exception. This spot, however, does far more than provide an excuse for visitors to see one of Los Angeles’ coolest neighborhoods before it gains critical mass.

Instead of merely transporting and translating ramen and sharable appetizer recipes from Japanese capitals and other major East Asian cities, Reyes brings his own multicultural spirit to the menu. Although some items are recognizably Japanese, he deepens the flavor profile. The Tonkotsu Pork Ramen under Reyes’ direction integrates niboshi tare, chashu pork belly, confit pork, shiitake mushrooms, charred cabbage and sesame, resulting in a variation that’s quite sophisticated. And while many ramen restaurants stick primarily to a pork soup base, picky Los Angeles diners and visitors are well served with chicken, lamb and vegan ramen soups and donbori rice bowls. The Chicken Tori Paitan Ramen, with toasted miso, charcoal grilled chicken, togarashi baby corn and mustard greens, is a delicious, one-of-a-kind ramen that will win over even the staunchest pork purists.

Reyes’ skills shine with his conversation-starting appetizers, salads and snacks, a plus if you are bringing people to the pocket-sized restaurant (a historic landmark of sorts, as the former site of Chu’s Kitchen, a neighborhood staple until 2017). You may unintentionally fill up on perfectly executed robata-style grilled meats, gyoza, spicy tuna on puffed wild rice crackers and tempura-fried enoki mushrooms. The Karaage Fried Chicken is particularly irresistible, crafted with Japanese techniques but finished with a kiss of down-home Southern flavor. The tomato salad, with daikon radish, dashi shoyu dressing, crispy garlic and red shiso, provides a refreshing palate cleanser balancing out the rich fried and sautéed nibbles.

9th St. Ramen

111 W. 9th St.
Los Angeles, CA 90015
tel 213 628 3404

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