Tonight, we were able to attend the media event for Marugame Udon, a big thank you to WestsideMommy. It is their first location opening in the US; they have 186 stores located in 13 countries and over 770 locations in Japan. The Sawtelle branch is a cafeteria-style with fresh handmade udon is made-to-order. Marugame specializes in Sanuki-style udon; this udon’s birth place is from the Kagawa prefecture in Japan. Sanuki udon’s shape is square-ish with a slightly toothy chew that is undeniably addicting. It is the perfect shape to practice the noodle slurp, it’s a must when enjoying Japanese-style noodles.
The menu is extensive with traditional to modern udon soups. Winter ordered the Nikutama, beef and soft-boiled egg udon; and I tried their Tonkutsu, a pork broth soup with chashu and ground pork miso udon. We watched our udon being prepared in their open kitchen, where you can watch the chef expertly boil the udon to perfection. The udon prices range $4.50 to $9.50.
After we received our udon, we walked along a mouthwatering bell curve of fried delights from karaage (Japanese fried chicken) to tempura. They have everything out on display, and it is hard to just pick one. With the prices being less than $2/piece, it’s an amazingly delicious treat you can’t pass up. A final pièce de résistance is their rice bowl station.
The size is just enough as a decadent treat along with your udon. Winter CANNOT resist with anything that has ikura (salmon roe), so we ordered two small salmon-ikura dons. Their drink station consisted of some fresh squeezed lemonade, fresh juice combinations, and a couple latte (milk, not coffee) based drinks. They, also, have a complimentary toppings center, where they have chopped green onions, tempura crumbs and other sauces for your rice bowls.
Inside the restaurant there is ample seating: some booths along the walls, tables, a long center table that single purveyors can eat at without taking up a whole table just by themselves. Outside, they have a small patio with some tables and chairs if you would like to dine alfresco.
The true test is in the taste of the food, and we were impressed. Winter has a love for udon that knows no bounds, so she has a very discerning palette for all things noodle. She learned how to use chopsticks for the sole purpose to eat noodles more efficiently and quickly.
The udon passed Winter and August’s taste test, they slurped the noodles with such gusto. Winter has taught her brother well, and he has slowly been learning the subtleties of slurping. Even though he is only a year old, he has the technique down pat. I couldn’t be more proud.
We were all stuffed to the brim after our fantastic feast. We bussed our own table and placed our nearly empty bowls to the dirty dish window, which marked the end of our dining experience at Marugame. We can’t recommend this place enough, it’s unlike any udon shop. The staff is very friendly and are eager to please. The restaurant is kid-friendly, which gives it a huge thumbs up for us. We will definitely be frequenting this place, we have found our udon home.
2029 Sawtelle Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90025