When I think of ramen, I think of the packages of ramen my mom would pack for me to take back with me to L.A. during my college years. As a starving college student, this was the perfect meal. I would add an egg to it, and perhaps some thinly sliced green onions for a bit more flavor and color. Fast forward a bunch of years later and after vacationing in Tokyo in the summer of 2008, my interest in ramen was re-awakened. Ramen in Japan is a full meal, complete with meat or fish, vegetables and of course noodles. Ramen can also be kicked up several notches on the spice meter. We visited a number of ramen houses in the Tokyo and each time, I was left completely satisfied and very full. I still enjoy Nissin’s Top Ramen when I want a quick ramen hit but this was Japanese comfort food at its best and imagine how excited I was when I found out that there was a ramen house close to home!
We’ve been going to Koraku’s Sherman Oaks location for over a year now. While it is a ramen house, Koraku also serves up an eclectic Japanese menu. Here you’ll not only find 27 different types of ramen on the menu, but you’ll also find tonkatsu, a variety of curry dishes, and yakisoba. And if that weren’t enough, the menu is infused with a handful of Korean and Chinese dishes as well.
At the end of the day, however, it’s all about ramen. My favorite is #29, Tenshin Men–ramen submerged in a soy sauced based soup, topped with a generously-sized shrimp omelette and garnished with green onions. I love this soup and have not yet been able to finish off an entire bowl. (Did I mention that they serve their ramen in these gigantic bowls)? It’s hearty and filling and oh so comforting. The biggest challenge is keeping the noodles from slipping off of your chopsticks!
Hubby ordered #44, the Gegikara Gyuniku Tamago Ramen, which is a hot and spicy soup with a generous serving of beef, egg and vegetables. It’s his favorite and he always finishes it to the last drop (and breaks out a sweat too)!
Son #2 ordered the Menchi Katsu, a hamburger cutlet breaded and fried served with a shredded cabbage slaw and macaroni salad. I thought the cutlet was over done but Son #2 enjoyed the dish.
Koraku’s food is homestyle cooking, generously served and surprisingly, reasonable in price. It will fill your tummy and warm your soul. You can either opt to dine in their modest restaurant (the restaurant boasts two booths, a handful of tables and seating at the bar so that you can watch the action in the kitchen) or you can order it to go. I usually get it to go if I’m hosting “Drama Night” at the house with my girlfriends (did I mention that I love to watch Japanese and Korean dramas?).
14425 Ventura Boulevard
Sherman Oaks, California
Phone: 818. 906.0045
Menu can be found at SPORQ‘s website.