REVIEW: Silverlake Ramen adds twist to noodles

Situated inside the Silversun Plaza on trendy Sunset Boulevard, Silverlake Ramen offers inexpensive Japanese cuisine to tourists and regulars wandering throughout the city. Unlike the quaint cafes and quirky hipster shops lining the streets of the neighborhood, Silverlake Ramen boasts a modest appearance that fits within the aesthetic of this corner strip mall. 

Much of the seating in the restaurant is limited to a couple of booths and single tables. The employees are constantly pulling apart and pushing together tables to accommodate parties of more than two people.

To alleviate some of the cramped space within the restaurant, customers can be seated at the six-stool bar facing the open kitchen. Large windows covered with charming bamboo shades line the left side of the building, allowing the sunlight to cast a soft glow inside the building. Adding to the interior’s character were small wooden fans lining the ceiling, which provides patrons with a temperate and cool atmosphere.

The single paper menu narrows down the options for customers, preventing them from being overwhelmed by myriad choices. In addition to the daily menu, Silverlake Ramen offers a late night menu from 11:30 p.m. to 1:45 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. The late night menu offers a shortened version of the regular menu, with only ramen, snacks and drinks served. 

Though the streamlined options make it easier for the customer to order, the ramen section of the menu is slightly disappointing, offering only five types to choose from. These choices included a healthy vegetable ramen and a savory shoyu ramen including chicken broth and bamboo shoots. There is also a variety of toppings that customers can select, including corn, black garlic oil and egg.

Most regulars and tourists, however, come to Silverlake Ramen to try their renowned tonkatsu ramen. The presentation of the ramen bowls is impressive. The servings include enough food to satisfy a single starving person or two moderately hungry people. The pork broth is rich and savory, with the flavors exploding at the first sip. The pork belly is served over the noodles and green onions, which were neatly glazed on the edges. The pork slices melted in the mouth and provided the perfect amount of saltiness.

The fresh green onions and bean sprouts added a crunchiness that complements the smoothness of the noodles. It is worth noting that this dish is extremely filling, with many customers taking to-go bowls home. For $9, it is a deal that cannot be missed, a testimony to the visitors who flock to Silverlake Ramen on a daily basis.

The restaurant also offers small and regular bowls ranging from $6 to $10. The spicy tuna bowl and salmon poke bowl are both crowd favorites. With a peak price of $10, the bowls are slightly expensive for the small amount that is given in the regular bowl, with the toppings only including avocado and pickled ginger.        

Hand or cut rolls are available for order at around $4 and $8. One of Silverlake Ramen’s more interesting rolls include the lemon roll, a roll of fried shrimp inside spicy tuna with lemon slices on top. At $10, this is one of the more expensive rolls on the menu.

Silverlake Ramen is located at 2927 W. Sunset Blvd. It is open Sunday through Thursday from 11:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. and until 1:45 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.

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