I’ve been patiently waiting for Tsujita to open at South Coast Plaza, but was psyched to receive an invitation last week, to preview its latest offering, Killer Noodle, on Sawtelle Blvd in Los Angeles which opened on Monday.
The restaurant is decorated in bright red hues, on the walls, chairs, and also, the chandelier hanging from the ceiling. It is bold, unabashedly in your face, and it totally works for what you’re about to taste.
At Killer Noodle, it’s all about the dan dan noodles, a Japanese variation of the Sichuan equivalent – and there are three types to choose from. Pick a spice level from zero to six, as well as whether or not you want soup, or no soup. I have a high tolerance for heat – or so I thought – but was on the timid side that particular day as we had an event to go to that evening. I didn’t want a red and sweaty face right before the event.
Our Tokyo Style ($11.45) dan dan noodles in soup is a fiery red bowl of beautifully chewy thin noodles immersed in a rich pork broth, married with sesame sauce, peanut butter, white sesame, house-made Tokyo style vinegar, topped with green onion, dry shrimp, niku-miso (ground pork), cashew nut, pickle, green onion, and bean sprouts. It is a hearty and rich broth, thickened by the peanut butter and sesame. I must admit, I can probably go as high as a level four spice, but definitely on a day where I can just go straight home after.
We opted for Original Style ($10.95) without soup. This plate is a combination of garlic, pickle, tofu, ground pork, green onions, bean sprouts, cabbage, fresh raw cayenne pepper and black pepper, and served with a lemon halve, which I highly recommend squeezing over your noodles. This topping reminds me of Sichuan-style mapo tofu — but better — and the bits of fresh cayenne pepper really hits the tongue when you accidentally bite into one. I love acid on my food, so I intersperse between the lemon and the house-made vinegar on the table.
There are three toppings to choose from to add to your bowls. Poached Egg ($1.50) Char Siu ($3.45) Cilantro ($1). The poached egg arrives whole, which you then crack and break into your noodles. Do this quickly – as soon as everything arrives — as the heat from the noodles will steam the egg further, kicking up the whole experience even further.
There is also Pork Shabu Shabu ($3.45), and if I were to pick either pork shabu shabu or char siu, I’ll choose pork shabu hands down. Paper thin poached pork slices sit in a sauce of dark vinegar and chile, providing a lot more flavor, and less fat, than char siu — unless of course, you revel in the fattiness of pork.
The rice bowls are also worth trying. If you’re not a fan of spicy, the Char Siu Bowl ($4.45) sees diced pork with scallions served on top of hot steamed rice. It is a perfect item for kids, as well as for those who aren’t quite satisfied with a bowl of noodles. Regardless, it will definitely hit the spot.
I personally was so enamored by the Mabo Rice Bowl ($4.95) I wanted more of it! I love the numbing effects of this dish as it tingled on my tongue. The heat level is around a four, but so worth it! I wish they served this as an entrée in a larger size bowl.
If you are up that way, make sure you stop by and partake in one of these bowls. I can’t wait for Tsujita to open at South Coast Plaza, and hopefully they will include at least one of these items on their menu.
2030 Sawtelle Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90025