Before each home game this season, ClipperBlog will run “ClipperBlog Eats,” a restaurant recommendation from its resident restaurant reviewer, Ben Mesirow. Below is today’s suggestion:
Sometimes you go out to dinner and the food doesn’t really matter – you go with a group, you talk, you have a round of drinks, then another, and it seems not so important if your burger is more medium well than medium rare, or if a juicy pork dumpling or two has sprung a leak.
But sometimes the food really does matter, and you brave a long wait on a dark Little Tokyo street just to get your table, and instead of searching for conversation you just sit and watch a master craftsman knead and pull and separate and slice impossibly long strands of noodles. Marugame Monzo is built for those nights.
Eating there isn’t exactly easy – there’s no parking, lines are long, your table is probably just a little smaller than you’d like – but ease is not why you choose Marugame Monzo. No, you go to Monzo for the udon, their specialty, and even more specifically, you go for the noodles themselves, lovingly made by hand in front of your very eyes, the artisan noodle smith on display in a glass box at the head of the restaurant like the dumpling assembly line at Din Tai Fung. When they arrive in a bowl at your table they are incredible, thick and slippery, solid but with just the right amount of give, and with a truly admirable purity of flavor. You can get them in a variety of broth styles, from classic udon to bright, punchy curry, and on to weirder fusions like udon carbonara or the profoundly hedonistic uni cream udon. Whether you decide to keep it simple or go full on Epicurus you will not be disappointed, especially if you add the tempura soft boiled egg – just another shot of rich, runny liquid to pile on to those durable noodles. You can talk during the game; this is a meal that demands attention.