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Ozu is the East Side’s Best Ramen

On Monday a colleague was raving to me about the “spectacular food” at a newish Pan-Asian restaurant in Atwater Village. So, of course, on Tuesday I went straight to Ozu on Glendale Boulevard to see for myself and I was not disappointed.

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Ozu is located in the former Atwater Village Farm market space, just a few steps down from Proof Bakery and across the street from Canelé and the recent neighborhood favorite Dune (Yum!). By that measure and my colleague’s glowing endorsement, Ozu had stiff local competition and plenty to live up to.

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Pro tip: anyone can park in the Wells Fargo parking lot next door after 6pm. The interior design is light, bright, and minimal, with communal-esque tables and floor to ceiling windows. When we went at 5pm I could see how Ozu could be a routine stop for lunch-goers looking for a quick and tasty ramen and a hangout for happy hour and sharable plate lovers. Ozu’s bar offers both Japanese standards like Asahi and local brews like Craftsman Lager 1903 and Iron Triangle Ale. Fine bottles of Sake and Soju is also, of course, on hand, as well as select bottles of reds, whites, and a rosé. And, yes, this is the East side after all so you can bet there’s Stumptown coffee as well.

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Onto the food! While you order at the counter for lunch, Ozu has recently added table service to dinner and our waiter was thrilled to recommend his favorite dishes. We started with the charred edamame, sesame fries Ozu-style, and the chicken fried tofu. The charred edamame is made with miso butter and was perfect for snacking. The sesame fries were thin and crunchy and sprinkled with seaweed seasoning. The “chicken” fried tofu was the real standout. I’m always relieved to find a fair amount of vegetarian options at restaurants, and the fried tofu was delicious – crunchy on the outside and soft and silky on the inside.

All artwork © 2015 Wong Young Tseng, "standing still", Graduate thesis show, Claremont Graduate University

We next ordered the Korean dumplings and the Miso Ramen, which is vegan, and the Pork Ramen. The dumplings are made with pork and were delectable and bite-size. And the ramen? My colleague had said it was the “best ramen of my life” so expectations were high. I took a sip of the broth and found it flavorful, perfectly balanced, and much lighter and less salty than the heavy broths at some of the busier ramen shops across LA. It wasn’t until the noodles that I understood the raves. The noodles were green, obviously home made, and exceedingly fresh – almost like what we’ve become accustomed to with some of our city’s finest Italian bistros. My friend devoured her pork ramen and when we were both finished we felt full and satisfied, but hungry for more.

All artwork © 2015 Wong Young Tseng, "standing still", Graduate thesis show, Claremont Graduate University

 

 

We decided not to be too decadent on our first trip to Ozu, so we asked for just one order of the Spicy Tuna Omusubi. With a sixth sense, our waiter arrived with two orders, one on the house, and we squealed with delight. The omusubi were the perfect refreshing finale to a casual, no frills, and delicious early dinner. Afterward, my friend turned to me as we stood outside Ozu and said, “I think we’ve found our new ramen spot.”

All artwork © 2015 Wong Young Tseng, "standing still", Graduate thesis show, Claremont Graduate University

Ozu East Kitchen

3224 Glendale Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90039

Phone: 323 284 8773

 

Hours – Open for lunch & dinner:

  • Tue – Thur:  noon – 3 pm  & 5 – 9 pm
  • Fri – Sat:  noon – 3 pm & 5 – 10 pm
  • Sun:   4 – 9pm
  • Mondays: Closed

All artwork © 2015 Wong Young Tseng, "standing still", Graduate thesis show, Claremont Graduate University

All food photos courtesy of  Wong Young Tseng. All interior photos courtesy of Alen Lin.


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