What's in a Noodle?
Sawtelle's "inauthentic" Miyata Menji
"Inauthentic" is a dirty word in many food circles.
So it's no wonder that the opening of Miyata Menji made the food blogosphere balk. This, after all, is a new noodle spot on Sawtelle that serves ramen with teriyaki beef, and tsukemen topped with grated cheese.
But we'll make a case for the "inauthentic." Because you know what else is "inauthentic"? Korean tacos, for one. See also: most high-end burgers.
Miyata Menji is part of an Osaka-based chain, which even further problematizes screams of inauthenticity. Stop in for noodles at lunch and you'll hear plenty of Japanese spoken. And while the tsukemen noodles (pictured; $9)--tossed with anchovies, cabbage and grated cheese--resemble our go-to lunch of pasta with chicories, fish sauce and pecorino, a brief dip in the heady pork broth takes the flavor straight to Japan.
Just inside the door there are two empty bags of flour pinned to the wall: One is an all-purpose generic brand, and the other a kanji-branded bag of Kyoriki Ko hard wheat flour. We're guessing this is an Us vs. Them comparison, in which Miyata Menji uses the better, more-Japanese flour--which happens to be grown (inauthentically) in Canada.
Miyata Menji, 2050 Sawtelle Blvd., West L.A.; 310-312-3929 or miyatamenji.com
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