This past Sunday night, I had ramen with an old friend of mine, Jeraldin. I had not seen her in over 10 years! Jeraldin and I went to school together back when we both lived in Hawaii. When I recently found out she moved to Santa Monica, we started hanging out. We met up for a ramen dinner then went to the Basement Tavern to watch my friend, Max, and his awesome reggae band, Bodhi Rock.
I wanted to check out a new ramen place, but most ramen places around were closed early on a Sunday night. Luckily, Kotoya, one of my favorite ramen joints, their last call was at 9:30. When we got there, there was a smaller crowd and we immediately sat ourselves at the bar. Everyone that works there, are so nice. It always felt good to walk in and everyone, including the chefs, would greet you. I think they recognize me by now, as they seemed to have the look on their faces that they were glad to see me again. Well, I hope they were glad to see me back. (Last time I was there, I showed up piss drunk and going off on some crazy rant… Haha.)
Unfortunately, I forgot to take photos of the ramen. Jeraldin and I were so absorbed with catching up on the past 15 or so years that I didn’t take any photos. And honestly, Kotoya had some of the best ramen bowls I’ve photographed! They really make a nice presentation with their menu items. Anyway, I ordered their White Ramen Miso broth with a soft-boiled egg sans bamboo and Jeraldin ordered the Red Ramen Level 3. My ramen was perfect. I can’t recall anything I didn’t like. The broth was rich and flavorful and wasn’t too oily. The noodles were perfectly cooked, chewy and tasty. The chashu was just as mouth-watering as ever and the soft-boiled egg was perfect. AND they made sure I didn’t have bamboo in it. You know how I feel about bamboo!!! Jeraldin enjoyed her ramen as well. She has been to Kotoya before and actually lives a few blocks away! Lucky…
We ended up hanging out at the restaurant after all the customers left. But the staff was so nice and patient about us staying that late. I’ve been to restaurants where they give you the stink eye and totally vibe you to leave when you happen to be the last ones there. I honestly didn’t realize what time it was, but when I noticed it was 10, I felt guilty and suggested we leave. But it was cool that I got to observe the staff cleaning up and I must say, they take amazing care of their kitchen. They pulled everything out, wiped everything down and made sure the place was immaculate!
After dinner, Jeraldin’s cousin, Karen, met up with us and we headed over to the Basement Tavern to see Bodhi Rock, just a few miles away from Kotoya. I’ve known most of the Bodhi Rock members for a long time from college. Max, the guy who introduced me to Kotoya and went on a ramen run at Tatsu with me, plays trumpet for Bodhi Rock. They were so fun to watch and they are definitely a group of excellent musicians. I actually danced during their last set! (A very rare Joan-sighting.) But there were definitely some creepers that night. I managed to take a photo of one particular creeper. I couldn’t help myself, he made such a fashion statement!
This fool thought he was so cool! His name was Joey and whaddaya know.. he had
a joey tattooed on his stomach…
You should definitely check out Bodhi Rock! They play in Santa Monica at the Basement Tavern on every first Sunday of the month, from 8pm to midnight. There is no cover charge, happy hour all night AND they have a nice selection of whiskies. The Basement Tavern is located underneath the Victorian on Main Street. Just go around the back parking lot and follow the signs. And if you have a hankering for ramen beforehand, go to Kotoya!
Thanks for reading!
Kotoya Japanese Restaurant
11901 Santa Monica Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90025
The Basement Tavern
2640 Main St
Santa Monica, CA