Saturday, January 8, 2011
Jinya: So Not What'cha Want
I was so disappointed by the blandness and lack of depth of the broth at Jinya, a Studio City ramen joint that had been getting rave reviews. I mean this tonkotsu ramen didn't even come close to my local faves, Shinsengumi and Santouka. True, they had run out of the curiously limited edition (20 servings max per day) of the richest "premium pork" Hakata tonkotsu ramen so had to resort to the Yokohama tonkotsu, whose only virtue was that it came with crispy onion bits that reminded me of an amazing ramen I had at the Yokohama ramen museum except that ramen had crispy garlic bits. The crispy onions imparted great sweetness and also gave the otherwise boring-as-hell bowl something interesting texture.
Felt like the broth hadn't been boiling with massive pork bones in them for hours on end. It was weak. It was bland. I had to add some sriracha sauce and chili flakes to be able to finish it. I didn't think it was on the level of Daikokuya, which I don't even like that much despite the ubiquitous lines outside of that yellow awning in Little Tokyo.
Going back to Jinya's ramen, the addition of spinach was ok but nothing to write home about. Not even spinach could salvage it from its blandness. The chasu pork slices weren't flavorful either. Yes, they were soft but again, so bland.
The noodles: they were ok but not as good as the hard noodles at Shinsegumi. The overall bowl was so unremarkable that I, who never lets a good bowl of ramen go to waste, couldn't finish it. That almost never happens with me.
And don't even get me started on the gyoza. Oh my God. All I have to say is, have some of your kitchen staff go train at Shinsegumi to get a handle of what real gyoza should taste like. The inside was a lump of ground pork that reeked of unfresh pork. What a travesty to peddle these as gyoza.
The chicken karaage was average to below average. I just can't believe that this place got so many raves. Am I missing something? Did I catch them on an off day?
I'm not so sure. The salad that came with the ramen combo was meh. I don't think I'll be returning. I'll go to Shinsengumi or Santouka any day over this place. So not worth the hype.
Even the so-called organic green tea served was so watered down and unimpressive that I vowed never to set foot in that joint again.