The Other Critics

Gold Drops L.A.’s Top Ramen; Scattergood Seeks Out Porchetta

Ramen at Daikokuya
Ramen at Daikokuya Photo: LWY/Flickr

Head-noodle-in-charge Jonathan Gold sums up the city’s ramen scene this week, letting loose that L.A. is “still in the throes of its ramen frenzy, a swelling orgy of bamboo shoots, tree-ear mushrooms and soft-boiled eggs,” and revealing that “Little Tokyo, Little Osaka and the South Bay sprout ramen shops the way they used to breed sushi bars.” The critic then drops a top ten list, leading off with the Tsujita, which he deems “so far ahead of its competition that the others may as well not exist,” much “like Ginza Sushiko in the early 1990s or Rex among Italian restaurants a decade before that.” The great one also breaks down worthy competitors, including “chewy” noodles at Ramen Iroha, Yamadaya’s “altar of pig,” red bombs at Mottainai, and his off-menu specialties at Shin-Sen-Gumi. [LAT]

“Walk into a remarkable number of L.A. restaurants these days…and you’ll be overwhelmed by the ode to pig that is porchetta.” Breaking down its multiple spellings, forms, and ubiquity as a staple of Italian street food, she finds one cooked with “seven ingredients for seven hours” served from Evan Funke’s truck, a Tuesday night special from Casey Lane at The Parish, a whole suckling served at Bestia, and porchetto at Sotto, among other favorite versions like Mozza2Go’s heritage porchetta, Gino Angelini’s whole leg porchetta at Angelini Osteria, and the version Salvatore Marino put on his meny even though his father maligned it as “too peasant.” [LAW]

Brad A. Johnson pays a visit to Newport’s DivBar, certain that the “All things to all people” roadhouse menu can’t be all that, but still hopeful at the presence of “Bill Bracken, a guy whose cooking [he] previously admired at the Island Hotel and at the Peninsula Beverly Hills.” Stepping “into a surreal world of hoarding where the most incredibly random crap has been nailed to the walls and ceiling,” he finds too much of the barbecue sauce here “tastes like Tabasco,” as well as fall-off-the-bone beef and pork ribs, and glorious fried chicken. He even loves the pizza, awarding the place with three glowing stars. Unfortunately, the day after this review drops, Bracken is outta there to “move onto other possible adventures and projects.” [OCR]

Zagat’s Lesley Balla weighs in on RivaBella, positing that “If you want Gino Angelini, go to the Osteria.” She sounds more impressed by the cocktail program than anything, finding the space “gorgeous but…contrived” and wondering how “can someone screw up a donut” like the cold, custard-filled bombolini. [Zagat]

Gold Drops L.A.’s Top Ramen; Scattergood Seeks Out Porchetta