Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Udon and Uni at Marugame Monzo (Downtown LA)

When Marugame Monzo opened in Little Tokyo, I was excited for two things. First, the handmade udon means I don't have to drive to Torrance for good udon! Second, two words: uni udon.

Yep, one of the signature items is the Sea Urchin (Uni) Cream udon ($15.95)

Marugame Monzo
Perfectly chewy udon, creamy sauce, uni. I mean, what's not to like? During my first visit with a couple of friends, we barely tried anything else because we all wanted to order this.

The glass windows of the kitchen let you see the udon making in action.
Trust me, having freshly made noodles of any kind (soba, pasta, and yes, udon) makes a huge difference!
Mentai squid butter udon
Marugame Monzo

The next time I came back, I made sure to try the other udon dishes (even though I really wanted that uni udon). It was a cool day in LA that day, so I tried the soupy ones. Other than the uni udon, they have other fun signature items like Champon Udon ($11.95)
Champon is a dish from Nagasaki where vegetables, seafood, and sometimes pork are stir fried, then added to ramen noodles. Here, of course, they use udon instead.

I also tried the more traditional Duck Nanban udon ($12.95). The traditional ones give you a chance to appreciate the texture of the handmade udon more, since the flavors are more subdued.
You can also get a side of shrimp tempura, a perfect addition to the nanban udon.

As with most Japanese noodle shops, you can get a mini rice bowl on the side. For Monzo, get the negitoro don.
Great udon in the middle of downtown LA. In fact, this place might be better than the Torrance udon shops, since most of those places don't even make their own udon on site!

Marugame Monzo
Marugame Monzo
329 E 1st St.
Los Angeles, CA 90012
(213) 346-9762
Marugame Monzo on Urbanspoon


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