For nearly a decade, Ramen Yamadaya served on a prominent corner of Washington Boulevard in Culver City, with accolades from locals and Jonathan Gold alike. Now the space has turned into Moto Ramen from Sarah Kim-Jenkins and Yuki Nakamoto. Kim-Jenkins, her mother, and Nakamoto operated Irori Sushi in Marina del Rey back in the aughts before opening Ramen Yukinoya in Arcadia and Rowland Heights (only the Arcadia spot remains). Now Kim-Jenkins and Nakamoto have opened back on the Westside with an Okinawa-inspired ramen menu featuring black garlic tonkotsu, spicy miso, tan tan men, shio chicken, and even vegan ramen options.
Though the ramen isn’t a direct version of Okinawan ramen, which uses a thick wheat soba noodle, Yuki brings a bit of his native Japanese island’s sensibility to the menu. Other dishes include chicken karaage, pan-fried gyoza, agedashi tofu, and pork (or chicken) buns. To drink, a solid selection of craft beers and sakes as one might expect. Overall, it’s a versatile, easy-to-frequent neighborhood spot that fills in the hole that Yamadaya left when it closed earlier this year.
Moto Ramen opened for takeout and delivery last weekend but will open its dining room some time around the end of the month with limited capacity. Hours run Tuesday to Saturday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.