a few weeks ago, i felt adventurous enough to FINALLY venture to the south bay and attack some places I’ve been wanting to check off our list forever.

(on a side note: why does south bay seem like a foreign land so far away? west la is just as far from us but in the last 6 months, I’ve gone to west la a gajillion times but this was my first trek together to the south bay. haha)

first stop, asa ramen.

I’ ve heard so many good things about this place and stories of people in la driving all the way to gardena in the middle of the night to make the 2am cut off time. I couldn’t wait any longer to try it for myself. 

I went and split a large kotteri ramen with extra chashu. the restaurant wasn’t that packed but we noticed it took FOREVER for the food to come out. but when the bowl of noodles finally came out, my eyes widened. FINALLY here it was. was it worth the wait?

asa

in short, it SUCKED.

overly salty, not very pork-rich brothy, dry and shiesty chashu, meh noodles, I could go on and on but I’m going to stop right here before I get too riled up.

ok but c’mon, seriously, are u f-ing kidding me?? all the hype for this??  (gosh, Im sounding a lot like *cough*tony*cough*c. :P)

i was sadly disappointed to say the least. santouka’s shio ramen still reigns supreme as my favorite ramen in the city.

trying to move on, I also heard about the fantastic takoyaki here . we got the mochi cheese one.

takoyaki

not bad. the cheese and mochi give it a tasty crispy outside and ooey gooey texture inside but dont expect too much octopus. the actual octopus was virtually non-existant. this was pretty tasty and it topped off with  “bacon of the sea,” bonito flakes. served with takoyaki sauce and my favorite kewpie mayo, I couldnt complain too much.

 my favorite spot for takoyaki is still sasaya in west la. even though the takoyaki was okay I still left asa utterly disappointed because of the ramen.

this sad panda was even sadder when we found out our next destination, izakaya bincho was closing in 5 minutes at 10:00 pm. 😦 booooo.

ok, ok, think fast what else is good and open past 10:00 pm in southbay. got it, backup, musha.

I’d been to the santa monica location and tried their heavenly risotto. I was excited for matthew to try this plus there were other menu items I missed last time.

first up, torched mackerel. I’ve read many good things about this dish and was bummed last time when I forgot to order it and saw the fun torch show at the table next to us. it was our turn this time.

mackerel

neat-0 😛

mackerel2

oh my, oh my. this mackerel did NOT disappoint. my mouth is watering now just thinking about this delicately delicious fish. it was cooked perfectly and was melt-in-ur-mouth nothing short of amazing . I savored every little bit of this dish. I just wished there was more of it 😦

next dish was a new dish I read from reviews being good, the ebi mayo mayo.

ebi-mayo-mayo

good. battered and fried shrimp covered in thousand island sauce, green onions, tomatoes, mayo, and masago.

whats with japanese/koreans and their love for thousand island? lol but yeah the combination worked.  it was little over battered in my opinion but still good.

and then finally, what I had been so eagerly awaiting, the bacon and brown rice risotto (!!) I was so excited when they finally brought the parmesean cheese wheel out I had to exclaim to the waiter, “OH THIS IS MY FAVORITE!!” he replied with a smile, “its mine too.” I was giddy with glee to say the least 🙂

cheese-wheel

oh what a glorious sight. they mix the risotto in this baby tableside (they told us one of these wheels lasts them about a month. haha)

and finally….

risotto

ahhhhhhhhh, even more heavenly than I had remembered.

so wrong but so right. this risotto is rich and cheesy to the max. the bacon adds a whole another level of awesomeness. the amazing texture of the brown rice makes this japanese style risotto totally work. I savored every bit of this rich risotto until my plate was cleeeeeeeaaan 🙂

all was not lost on this trek to the south bay. a rocky start with the ramen let down but the mackerel and risotto definitely saved the day!

oh I just love happy endings 🙂

 

asa ramen,  18202 s western ave, gardena, CA 90248. (310) 769-1010

musha, 1725 w carson st ste b, torrance, CA 90501. (310) 787-7344

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