With summer still running strong, I am all over the cold noodle bandwagon. After last week's eclectic, creative & beefy consommé at Ramen Bull, I decided to hit up Chabuya, one of my solid standbys in the Sawtelle "Little Osaka" District, for a more traditional chilled ramen dish . . .
. . . and their Hiyashi Chuka was as tasty as I remembered, and a $9 well spent. Loads of fresh & chilled vegetables, half a soy-marinated boiled egg and a good helping of pork chashu strips (they can also do chicken instead, too.) The sesame dressing was creamy without being too rich, and was just mildly sweet with a little saltiness & tang to balance it out. And I love the noodles, springy but tender, and not clumped up or watery. My only suggestion for improvement may have been smaller cuts of cucumber, radish & egg so it can be savored throughout the dish instead of getting chomped down in a few bites, but generally this was super-satisfying for a hot day or a warm-ish night.
I also liked their recently-debuted Sweet Vinegar Fried Chicken ($5.50), lightly breaded pieces of thigh meat topped with sweet basil & sesame mixture and a drizzle of sweet soy & vinegar dressing. A winning combo for me -- delicately crispy with juicy dark meat & a curiously-complex flavor from the basil & soy-vinegar. And that salad of greens and veggies were a great conduit for the leftover dressing, as well as ameliorating some of the guilt for ordering this appetizer. If they put a salad on the side, it can't be *that* bad, right?
And with only a few weeks left in summer (and this particularly dish being a seasonal item at most noodle houses,) I definitely look forward to getting my fill of this while it's still around. As well as their free, all-you-care-to-drink iced mugicha (see? more healthiness!)
What Do Others Say?
- 365 Places to Eat "do think that Chabuya has some of the best noodles in the area, but depending on your soup preferences, you may have another favorite."
- In a 2007 post, Go Ramen gave mixed review to their classic ramen, but said their gyoza "that's 100 times better than Asahi's. The thin, light-tasting skin gave way to a succulent, moist pork filling. Chabuyaaaahhhh."
- Rameniac's 2006 review deemed their classic shoyu-tonkatsu broth a "one-note Samba . . . [but] the toppings for sure are top-grade."
- Eat Drink & Be Merry's classic blog, also for LA.Foodblogging in late-2005, noted that "the ramen is a little pricey . . . But then again, they use organic ingredients and honestly, everything tasted really crisp and fresh. Especially the spinach and green onions."
- Budget Foodie said it's "great ramen spot on the westside with a very cool ambience – they have a projector showing a slideshow of photos of Japan . . . So cute and romantic for a date."
- Best of LA had a "less than spectacular" visit in 2005, but revised her opinion with 2010 do-over: "A second chance is worth it. This time, the ramen . . . was good - not too salty and just enough to make me full."
Chabuya Tokyo Noodle House
2002 Sawtelle Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90025
Info @ Menupages