- Reporters Desk
By Gretchen Williams, Dining and Cuisine Writer
Downtown San Pedro is gaining traction as a culinary destination again, every day adding to its reputation for international dining opportunities. The strategic intersection of 6th and Nelson streets is now home to the legendary Conrad’s Mexican Grill, quickly embraced by the community for its sublime mole as waell as the exciting veg and vegan menu. Directly across Nelson Street is new Ko-Ryu Ramen, home to an Asian fusion menu of delights.
Popular from its first bowl of excellent broth, Ko-Ryu (Red Dragon) Ramen has had a full house from the beginning. The menu is based on that broth, with a vast number of wonderful things to add to the steaming bowl of noodles. Koi ramen adds signature pork “tare,” a rich seasoning paste that creates extraordinary sauce for the noodles. Shacho Ramen adds sesame paste, ground pork, pork Chashu (roasted pork), beansprouts and sake — “rich enough to be CEO”— to bring noodles to new heights. For the adventuresome, Ko-Ryu spicy ramen offers “great depth of flavors in a fiery soup.” Take heed, as this dish is not for the faint of heart -a blend of Japanese spicy miso, Korean hot pepper paste and American habanero peppers that will take the top of your head off.
Vegetarians will be pleased with the basic vegetable ramen, with flavors of the napa and green cabbage, carrots, onions and bean sprouts enhanced by a quick stir-fry before the hot broth is poured over the noodles. Additions like bamboo shoots, corn, deep fried garlic and green onion, dry seaweed, spinach or tofu, kimchi or sake will add interest and variety. The veggie set may also like the edamame beans to share, or vegetable gyoza (handmade vegetable dumplings). Tofu salad with sesame dressing is a clever and tasty way to serve tofu chilled, with corn and green onion for crunch, dressed with lovely sesame sauce. Corn salad offers the same great flavors without tofu.
Food for Share is the social part of the menu — order a few and share! Handmade gyoza are dumplings with pork or vegetables, steamed and then pan fried for crispy texture. Pork shumai are steamed pork dumplings, served with chopped green onions and soy sauce for dipping. Pork buns are also steamed, stuffed with chashu pork and dipped in spicy savory sauce. Chicken karaage is fried chicken with garlic sweet and sour sauce. It’s addictive! Takoyaki is octopus balls with special takoyaki sauce and sweet bonito flakes served on a hot cast iron plate. Typical of Japanese street food, takoyaki is meant for late-night snacking with a brew or two. Geso karaage (fried squid legs) are popular bar food in Japan, just as fried calamari is in California.
Rice Item may be understated on the menu, but do not miss this category of essentially Japanese comfort food. Chashu don or torikara don is fried pork or chicken over rice, with special sauce and some vegetables. Simple, warm and just the thing for a cold day.
Small fry are not forgotten here. The children’s ramen is $6, including Chashu pork, bamboo shoots and green onions. Ko-Ryu is the perfect place to learn to use chopsticks.
Location: 362 W. 6th St., San Pedro
Details: 310-935-2886; koryuramen.com