Gardena Ramen in Torrance? I’m not sure what the story is there but Gardena Ramen does sound better than Torrance Ramen. Intrigued by rameniac’s heavy claim that “Gardena Ramen serves the best ramen in Southern California“, I definitely had to check it out! Located on the corner of 182nd and Western, Gardena Ramen is a quaint little ramen-ya with a clear emphasis on simplicity. The menu consists of just a few items written on plain white paper hanging from the walls in both English and Japanese: Shoyu-ramen, Miso-ramen, Hiyashi-ramen (summer only), and Gyoza. Did I mention the weather was great today? After our recent 100+ heat waves, it finally cooled to a modest 74 degrees in Torrance. The perfect day to go eat ramen!
Shoyu-ramen: Hmm…Nakamura-san may be working too hard on his golf swing these days. This shoyu-ramen may reside in the vicinity of the upper echelon of ramen, but it is still a few nails down from hanging with the best. Albeit not the best, I still enjoyed the ramen as a whole and could almost taste the effort that Nakamura-san uses to perfect his ramen. This is absolutely a feel good ramen-ya with a feel-good ramen. The soup was more on the usui side and far from the saltiness I expected. The noodles were surprisingly the best part of the ramen. Slightly chewy yet firm, slurping these were like being lost in a lucid dream. The toppings (dry chashu, egg, negi, and menma) were just average and very unimpressive. You can definitely tell that the soup and noodles get most of the attention in preparation.
Gyoza: Great flavor, but a bit chewy. The skin is much thicker than most gyoza’s I’ve tried. I still think that they’re worth ordering though. They go perfectly with the ramen. Doh! I forgot to mention rameniac to get the free gyoza. Oh well, at least Nakamura-san gets paid for them!