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Jonathan Gold Thinks MTN Is The Ultimate Venice Restaurant

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Expect man buns galore and outstanding ramen

MTN
Ramen at MTN
Yelp

This week Jonathan Gold reviews MTN, Travis Lett’s newest Venice restaurant that is “a welter of man buns [...] and bowls of Big Sur sea vegetables, harvested by a surfer.” Though the Japanese eatery is “not a fusion restaurant,” it raises some issues of “cultural appropriation, of a non-Japanese chef taking on the tropes of Japanese drinking food as casually as he might slip on an A Bathing Ape hoodie.”

The Goldster continues the discussion of the intersection of Venice and Tokyo:

Japanese cookbook writer Nancy Singleton Hachisu, who knows more about these things than practically anybody, recently told a friend that she thought MTN was the most Japanese restaurant in the United States. Lett is fond of curing fish and fermenting vegetables; yuzu kosho and toasted seaweed; miso, shiso and cod. Still, I think if MTN were mysteriously transported to Harajuku, it would be the most Californian restaurant in Japan. [LAT]

One dish that exemplifies this is the “Big Sur seaweed salad, drizzled with tart ponzu, that you will find amusing for two or three bites and then forget about for the rest of the meal.” The Goldster also calls out the “lovely” vegetable dishes, but, just like in Besha Rodell’s review of the place, the star of the show seems to be the ramen:

And finally, there is ramen — soft, buckwheat-enhanced housemade ramen, which is kind of rare in Los Angeles — perhaps served in a light chicken broth with sliced thigh meat, shimeji mushrooms, and a subtle but piercing fragrance of yuzu zest, or tossed dry with ground pork and black sesame. The pork ramen — not tonkotsu-style, insist the servers — is made by boiling Peads & Barnetts pork bones for a day and a half, and includes a slab of what is probably the best, soft-crispy roast pork belly (chashu) you’ll find at any local ramen restaurant. I especially like the crab ramen, vibrant and spicy, thick with chunks of fresh Dungeness crab. [LAT]

The Times critic concludes by stating that even though he has “visited MTN on nights when I could have sworn I was the only person in the restaurant not on a Bumble date,” “the coziness can be almost magical.”

MTN

1305 Abbot Kinney Boulevard, , CA 90291 (424) 465-3313 Visit Website

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