Jidaiya's Japanese Ramen | Torrance, Los Angeles

Eating ramen at Gardena's Jidaiya

News of Jidaiya, a ramen joint run by the crew behind the beloved izakaya Torihei, hit the food blogs a few weeks back.

To judge by Jidaiya's clientele, however, us food-media folk are late to the party.

Located not far from the business parks of Torrance, where many a Japanese-based multinational corporation has its North American home, this strip-mall restaurant is packed with suits during lunch; ours was the only Anglo name scrawled on the waiting list.

Whatever connections to Japan those sharply dressed diners may have, they each announced a lunchtime-long regional-Japanese allegiance. Styles of broth are categorized by the city they originated in, so if tonkotsu is your noodle-soup poison, it's Yokohama for you. Chicken-soy broth? Tokyo. If it's pork-chicken broth you want, go with the city of Sapporo.

Tonkotsu, that cloudy pork-bone broth that has fueled Los Angeles' ramenification, is difficult not to order. It's impressively unctuous here, and that velvet texture and lingering pork intensity come from highly skilled boiling. The basic bowl (pictured; $7) is minimally garnished with bamboo, nori, wood ear mushroom and a slice of char siu.

Such restraint means there's less to distract from the interplay of noodle and broth.

Jidaiya, 18537 S. Western Ave., Gardena; 310-532-0999 or jidaiya-usa.com