Nathan Asamoto of Tentenyu Ramen invited GANMA and The EAT Show to experience the soft opening of the new Culver City Tentenyu location!
GANMA Magazine is honored to have a quick interview with Nathan on the expansion.
What brought Tentenyu to Culver City?
NA: Culver City has a lot of good energy and we felt like we could contribute to that in a positive way. I’ve always been attracted to downtown Culver City. It has a great history; it has a great food and bar scene and there are always people. I felt like we could contribute something that was new and different. It was a great opportunity for me to bring traditional ramen to people in a more modern and hip environment.
This place looks so amazing! What was the inspiration for the interior design?
NA: At our core we are a traditional ramen shop, but expanding to LA has given us the opportunity to explore a different type of atmosphere than people are used to. We got a lot of inspiration from the energy and feel of the city itself. We added communal seating and opened up the interior to the outside seating area. We wanted the design to incorporate well with the foot traffic and vibrant bar scene.
What is your favorite ramen and add-on?
NA: My new vegan option, the mushroom ramen with truffle. It may be my best creation yet.
It really is beautiful. So, what is the process like for each broth?
NA: We make our broth from scratch in house everyday! For our signature Tori Paitan chicken ramen, we use about 100 lbs of chicken per 100 bowls of ramen. Traditionally, it takes about 8-10 hours all day simmering chicken bones, chicken feet, and all that. We were able to cut that process in half with the power of pressure cookers, so about 4 hours.
As for my mushroom ramen, we use a shiitake mushroom and kelp based broth. We simmer mushrooms and kelp along with a variety of other vegetables for 3-4 hours. I love truffle so I thought that adding it would give it that extra dynamic kick of flavor.
It’s a long and tedious process, but I believe that it’s worth it. The quality of the food and the process is everything.
That’s fantastic and efficient! Do you have any last words?
NA: I’m really excited to be able to bring out a new style of ramen here in LA. With tonkotsu ramen being so saturated here in LA, it’s nice to expose the people here to something new and different. I want to thank all my family and friends who have supported and followed my journey since the beginning. Chef Alvin Cailan of Eggslut, who was one of my first real mentors, helped me see what food in LA is all about. I’m just grateful to be here and I know there are a lot more great things to come.
Othniel Covasa, the Chef of this Tentenyu, collaborated with Nathan to curate this fresh and unique menu exclusive to Culver City.
Line up of food: Gobo Salad, Gyoza, ChaShu Ramen, and the Rich Tori Paitan Ramen
Gobo Salad: Mixed green salad with sesame vinaigrette. Topped with deep fried gobo root and seaweed flakes. The initial thought was “what in the world is gobo?” but on the first bite, the crunchy texture of the gobo root, seaweed and the salad synergized perfectly with the acidic taste of the sesame vinaigrette. “I don’t know what gobo is but it tastes f**king bomb.” The dish was gone in a matter of seconds! Each bite was like binge watching Netflix shows; you just can’t stop after one. The savory taste of sesame vinaigrette enhanced the natural, earthy flavor of the gobo root to give some light action in your mouth before the ramen comes. Quick fact: the gobo root has anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and antibacterial properties! They are usually treated for sore throats and colds. We felt better eating it already.
Gyoza: This pan fried gyoza looks burnt at first, but looks can be deceiving. It is toasted to perfection! The outside is soft and gentle, yet crispy; the inside is full and plump, oozing savory juices of the pork stuffing. The intricacy of their handmade side dish is crafted so beautifully and so unorthodox that it really makes you admire the aesthetic.. For about 5 seconds and then you devour it and contemplate on getting another order..
Chashu Ramen: On first look, the ramen bowl seems unconventional: thick and chewy noodles? a sea of chicken broth? These log looking things called menma? All surrounded by 8 continent sized pieces of cha shu? Count us IN.
Before diving face first into the bowl, a spoonful of the soup is important to taste the broth and acknowledge the intricacies within the soup. Every element in the soup is astonishing! It’s light and smooth, but strong and dense. The soup’s rich and creamy texture ties the whole bowl together.
The abundance of chashu is not at all overwhelming. Each slice is thinly cut (but thick enough for texture!) with a greater percent of chashu pork belly meat and a sliver of pork fat for added taste. The soft and tender chashu acts as a bomb of flavor anxious to explode upon impact.
Ramen is no joke. The ramen noodle is some of the best, if not the best, soft, solid, and chewy noodles. If the bowl came with just noodles and soup, there would be no complaints at all to be honest.
Rich Toripaitan Ramen: The signature bowl of Tentenyu is their legendary Toripaitan Ramen, but the Rich Toripaitan Ramen is on another level. This Toripaitan variation has pork back fat added into it to further enhance the flavor of the soup and change up the overall flow of the bowl. As suspected, the ramen bowl is a masterpiece of all things savory. The pork back fat infused into the chicken broth creates this super creamy blend that will make you realize what you’re missing in your life, more rich toripaitan soup!
Although less chashu than the bowl before, the toripaitan ramen bowl feels complete with 3 slices of chashu and the optional add-on! The ajitama (eggs) is a great addition to contrast the tenderness of the chashu with it’s perfectly boiled egg whites and soft yolk. You could even get bean sprouts, green onions, or seaweed to change up the ramen for your personal tastes!
GANMA and The Eat Show are really appreciative in taking part of Tentenyu Culver City’s soft opening.
The restaurant will officially have a grand opening on March 31st. Make sure to prepare your appetite for this innovative meal!
Come taste Tentenyu’s signature Toripaitan ramen at #theEATSHOW on May 13th!