After three reviews by Karen Palmer and one by Javier Cabral, LA Weekly is continuing its rotating roster of post-Besha Rodell critics with Lucas Peterson’s review of Killer Noodle. The Eater LA contributor explains that “like the short stretch of Elysian Park Drive near Dodger Stadium that's named Vin Scully Avenue, the 2000 block of Sawtelle Boulevard really should be called Takehiro Tsujita Way.” That’s thanks to the cluster of cult-worthy ramen shops by the eponymous ramen master the original Tsujita, Tsujita Annex, Sushi Tsujita, and now Killer Noodle.
As the name would intimate, Killer Noodle’s schtick is its spicy fare:
Heat is the overriding theme at Killer Noodle, and initially it comes dangerously close to feeling like a gimmick, capitalizing on the popularity of the spice fanatics you'll find at Howlin' Ray's or the celeb-driven YouTube show Hot Ones. Like deadly sins, seven Killer Noodle rules, or fundamentals, are trotted out before each diner on the menu. No returns or refunds for customers who can't handle their spice is one axiom. The last is the slightly more scatalogical advice to "take care of your bottoms" after you head home. It's sort of funny. [LAW]
The noodles come in Tokyo, Downtown, and original styles:
The primary flavor of Tsujita's Tokyo style is sesame, which (at level 3, with soup) gives the broth a velvety smooth, almost tahina-like quality that mixes seamlessly with the pork flavor. Chopped, untoasted cashews and crispy fried ground pork round out the dish, which has a mild cayenne kick.
But did I want to slurp down the soup, savoring every drop, as in Tampopo(one of the greatest food movies ever made)? Not entirely. I found it slightly too sesame-heavy to want to keep drinking.
Surprisingly, the food just isn’t that spicy:
I tried one dish at a 6 spice level — the Downtown style. While I broke a sweat, it's eminently manageable for those who can handle their heat. [LAW]
Peterson also bemoans the noodles that “spent a minute too long in the cooker” and pretty horrendous service. Ultimately though, “any hiccups weren't enough to distract from the food,” and the critic will “keep going back.” Killer Noodle scores two stars.