Omae is My Homie

Sherman Oaks welcomes a new ramen master

Who is Omae and why should we care about his ramen?

Considering you've driven all the way to Sherman Oaks to slurp noodles at a strip mall joint called Ramen by Omae, this is a critical question.

The overly verbose menu at this tiny restaurant takes pains to clarify: Owner Takeshi Omae is a Michelin-awarded chef from Japan, former Iron Chef America star, and trusted disciple of Masaharu Mormimoto. The menu continues: His tonkotsu broth is boiled for 40 hours; the pork cha-shu is braised for two days.

Believe the hype.

Choose the signature kogashi (burnt) broth and you'll be treated to a brief pyrotechnic display: miso paste is tossed into a searing-hot wok, which erupts in fragrant flames. The resulting liquid packs deep, wonderfully charred flavor. "The Works" ramen ($15), made with blended tonkotsu-miso broth, is a dish of gut-busting glory: It includes every topping on the menu, including pork-filled wontons, black mushrooms and spicy mustard greens. A lush soft-boiled egg, colorfully marinated in Burgundy wine, crowns the bowl.

Crispy teba gyoza ($4), fried chicken wings stuffed with dumpling meat (the Inception of appetizers), are too labor-intensive for most restaurants to prepare–or so the menu claims.

But not for Omae; he's got your back. And your belly.