Little Tokyo is not only a great place to get a cherry haircut; it's also the new home of a ramen chain that has thus far been mainly limited to the South Bay with a couple of outposts in the San Gabriel Valley. Shinsengumi: a much needed addition to the downtown noodle scene that will no doubt serve to satisfy the hunger of even the fiercest Ronin. Named after an elite police squad of the late shogunate period (who are most famously known for preventing the burning of Kyoto), Shinsengumi likewise protects their long tradition of serving excelente Hakata style ramen. As loyal CCB readers know, this hearty regional variety is characterized by a rich, milky pork bone broth (which at Shinsengumi is meticulously checked using a refractometer) and thin, straight (non-curly) noodles.
I tallied up the signature C.P.C: Hakata ramen with crispy pork ear, poached huevo (I got marinated hard-boiled for some reason), and fried onions. All ordering here is done on a 'golf card' with rows for each member of your party to choose: ramen type, firmness of noodles, amount of oil, strength of soup base, and any omissions along with a myriad of toppings from corn to cod roe
While gawking at the patterned countertop, my steamy bowl was plopped down front and center complete with the core components: pickled ginger, cebolettas, and chasu puerco. All I had left to do was place the toppings and go to town.
Pure crackly goodness. I must admit that I may be a bit too prone to having fanciful thoughts when dining on comida such as this, but with Halloween on the horizon it seems apropos. Shinsengumi would make a robust final meal for any forlorn samurai required to commit seppuku although it would make a terrible, yet slightly humorous mess. While a more modern wayward soul might have their fill of this amazing stuff at the Tokyo location before setting off forever into the mythical Sea of Trees. Whatever you do get some Shinsengumi before it gets you...