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Review: In Sawtelle, Mogu Mogu is a window store without the soup

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Just past the row of windows of Sawtelle Boulevard, where the almost infinite variations on broth are the pork-intensive tonkotsu at Tsujita; Killer Noodle & # 39; s chili-split tanthanes; and mushroom-based vegan & # 39; hippie & # 39; broth at Tatsu, you will come across Mogu Mogu, a new kitchen dedicated to the brothless windows called measles (& # 39; mixed noodles & # 39;).

Mogu Mogu (the name is Japanese onomatopoeia for & # 39; chewing food & # 39;) is a spartan but cheerful dining room on the Olympic Boulevard, hidden between a bodybuilding gym and a copy shop.

Owner Tomohiro Wada, a cheerful and thoughtful host, describes Mazemen as & # 39; third-wave windows & # 39 ;. "Noodles served with a super-concentrated broth on the side.)

Owner Tomohiro Wada, left, with assistant manager Rick Kumazawa.

(Mariah Tauger / Los Angeles Times)

First timers are provided with instructions. The house protocol is to stir the noodles for 30 seconds and mix all toppings until they emulsify in sauce. Every table has vinegar pots flavored with uneven strips of red chili; about a third through the bowl, Wada recommends anointing the noodles with the lightly seasoned vinegar for an exciting umami-flavored swat.

Mazemen, of course without worrying about broth, has more freedom to play with toppings, especially those that can be diluted or lost in a hot soup. ("With measles we can do whatever we want," Wada said).

So there are cheese masters, noodles layered with minced pork, two wobbly onsen eggs, enough Jack cheese and rings of spring onions. Like most bowls, it is decorated with strips of nori and a column of mixed fish powder.

Stir it thoroughly and the dish will become fragrant and creamy, with salty, garlic-like contours. Someone at the table will probably compare it to a Carbonara sauce.

Mogu Mogu

Clockwise from the left: luxury measles bowl, Mogu chicken and spicy miso ramen bowl from Mogu Mogu.

(Mariah Tauger / Los Angeles Times)

Curry Mazemen uses many of the same herbs and ingredients, but the addition of Japanese curry powder adds a fragrant, warming pulse.

The luxury Mazemen is the most cordial, gilded with jiggly flaps of pork chashu and seasoned ground pork. The meaty dish has a surprising rival in the dense vegetarian miso measles, a thick mix of diced tofu, corn, ruffles of tenderly made kale, meaty red peppers and slices of lotus root. It is healthy, crispy and complementary, with a stirring, sweet-spicy kick from a hefty dose of chili-bent miso sauce.

Like many local ramen restaurants, including Tsujita, Daikokuya and Ramen Hood, Mogu Mogu uses wheat flour noodles made by Sun Noodle, a supplier with production facilities in California, New Jersey and Hawaii. Mogu Mogu noodles are thick and yellowish, with a light, wavy curl and tensile strength. They are a pleasure to chew.

There are two ramen soup bowls, concessions to diners who can't fathom ramen noodles without broth. Assari tonkotsu is made with a lightweight pork and herringbone broth, deepened with wooden ear mushrooms and fatty pork shashu. Spicy miso ramen is invigorating and aromatic, peppered with chili and garlic and thickly layered with ground pork, spring onions and corn.

Mogu Mogu

The veggie miso mushroom bowl from Mogu Mogu.

(Mariah Tauger / Los Angeles Times)

Starters are praiseworthy, especially the Mogu chicken, fried boneless pieces with a loose, crispy crust, topped with a sweet chili sauce. Steamed buns stuffed with pork belly, crispy jalapeño, coriander and kale are pleasing to chew – crunch collapses.

A resident of the Kanagawa Prefecture west of Tokyo, Wada has been 32 since he was 18 in the restaurant industry. He cooks in high-end teppanyaki restaurants, sushi salons and ramen stores in Orange County, a jack-of-all-trade that says he waited for the right concept to start his own restaurant.

He thinks it could be Mazemen. He hopes to open a location in Orange County next year.

If you peek into the shop window on a particular day or night, you'll probably see Wada maneuvering between tight rows of small tables, handing out bowls of rice for the oi-meshi or rice tracking, the denouement of every meal at Mogu Mogu. When the last noodle is gone, load the rice into your bowl to include the semi-slush of meat and garlic sauce on the bottom of the bowl. It is all soft starch and juice right now, but the remaining heat feels like an armor on a cold day.

Mogu Mogu

Clockwise from the left: deluxe mazemen bowl, veggie miso bowl, Mogu chicken and Mogu buns.

(Mariah Tauger / Los Angeles Times)

Mogu Mogu

Place: 11555 W. Olympic Blvd., Suite B., Los Angeles, (424) 343-2909, mogumoguus.com

Details: Credit cards accepted. No beam. Lots of parking on the street. Wheelchair accessible.

Prices: Mazemen raises $ 12- $ 15.50; starters $ 3- $ 6.50; windows bowls $ 12

Recommended dishes: Deluxe mazemen, cheesy mazemen, veggie miso mazemen, Mogu chicken, Mogu buns

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