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Taking the Noodle Plunge at Takeshi Ramen

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Ahh, the power of suggestion. We're pretty sure it was that NPR story about ramen--both the starving student 10-for-a-dollar variety and the heartier restaurant kind--that came in the wake of the death of the man who invented said instant ramen, Momfuku Ando, that got our tastebuds set on a steaming bowl of broth and noodles served Japanese-style. Combine that with weekly viewings of the insanity that is the Dotch Cooking Show and we were facing a dining must-do. Since we were headed in the direction of Glendale, we thought we might as well try the ramen place we'd spotted on Brand and had put on our list of places to check out. Takeshi Ramen is located right in the heart of Glendale's businessperson's lunchtime playground, where local diners can opt for the bland, predictable, and corporate safety of, oh, let's say The Olive Garden, or try something with a little more flavor at any one of the area's many smaller, ethnic eateries. It was fairly mellow inside Takeshi's bare bones interior, and we were gestured towards one of the many open tables near the front window as soon as we walked in. For those nervous about ordering the unknown, Takeshi's menu is completely photographic, which is cheesy, but also comforting. We kicked things off with their tasty fried oyster appetizer ($4.95), which came with four plump and perfectly battered and fried oysters and a small side salad.

For the main event we knew we could pick from ramen made from one of three base soups (soy sauce, salt water, or miso), and we went with a traditional pick, the Shoyu Ramen ($5.95), which is chashu pork, egg, & vegetable with noodles in the soy sauce broth. The pork was tender and flavorful, though the two small slices seemed lost in the great big bowl, and the noodles were a bit thinner and had less snap than we'd like. We slurped and chewed until we were warmed from the inside out, and had hit the "full" mark. The ramen was good, but not great. It will hit the spot in a pinch, and won't pinch the wallet. They have plenty of good lunch specials and generally reasonable prices. In the end, we wouldn't mind venturing back to Takeshi for those tasty fried oysters and another shot at another bowl of ramen. But we know there are better bowls to be had, and we're up to the task of finding them.

Takeshi Ramen
126 North Brand Blvd. Glendale (818) 242-0505