In our ongoing quest to spend more time in a certain neighboring city to Orange County, we made our way to the grand opening of Silverlake Ramen in Long Beach last week. While pho is commonplace and udon is accessible, ramen is the noodle we can’t get enough of close to home. Six locations strong for this growing chain, their newest digs are centrally located inside the popular airport plaza. We snagged a booth in the back to monitor the steady stream of eaters make their way in.
Per franchisee Craig Chung, “We are truly blessed and excited to be here in Long Beach. Our mission is to give you good food and good vibes for many years to come. We are still learning and growing, so bear with us as we work out the kinks and strive to gain your loyalty.” We appreciated the cashier ready to take your order as soon as you walk through the doors. The way we see it, the sooner you order, the sooner the kitchen can prepare your food. In the meantime, diners can select a communal or private table and check their phone while noodles and broth are prepped. Before our main event, we did indulge on a few grilled gyoza and the Soboro Bowl, featuring ground chicken, scrambled egg, pickled onion and green onion over rice. Our hearty bowl was so full, we easily had a second meal for later.
For our main, we opted for their classic Tonkotsu. After choosing your protein of choice (pork, chicken or tofu), it’s served in a creamy pork broth. Garnishes include bean sprouts, spinach, green onion, seaweed and egg. With all the extra bits, our favorite was the distinct black garlic oil. Inky in appearance and potent in taste, it took our basic broth and upgraded it exponentially. A duo of spicy noodle soups, a shoyu and vegetarian listing allow for a broader range of tastes. Their no-broth Mazemen is a cooling dish of flavors finished with bamboo and shredded seaweed. A pork and fish broth Tsukemen is their dippin’ noodle option.
While it was tempting to order chicken karaage or even a spicy tuna bowl, we stuck with the basics to see if they would be prepared properly. Our worries went away with the first bite as we chewed and slurped our way through lunch. Besides, there’s time to try everything, per Chung: “I don’t want to say we are a chain. Each store has its own personality and crew that makes us so unique. For those that call OC their home, Silverlake Ramen is coming soon to Irvine Spectrum as well.” Here’s to your next non-chain dining room, Silverlake!
4101 McGowan St. #150, (562) 420-7422; www.silverlakeramen.com.
A contributing writer for OC Weekly, Anne Marie freelances for multiple online and print publications, and guest judges for culinary competitions. A Bay Area transplant, she graduated with a degree in Hospitality Management from Cal Poly Pomona. Find her on Instagram as brekkiefan.