>> Ichimi Ann | Eat the World Los Angeles

Friday 26 March 2021

Ichimi Ann

JAPAN ๐Ÿ‡ฏ๐Ÿ‡ต

COVID-19 UPDATE: The small space at Ichimi Ann has been reduced to a takeout and pickup counter. There are also now four or five tables with varying degrees of shade out front for eating after you order and pay. The offerings of their menu have been pared down, but seem to be coming back little by little as the darkest days of the shutdown get further behind.

When a place ships fresh Japanese buckwheat across the Pacific in refrigerated cargo containers and even supplies some local South Bay favorites like I-naba with soba, it clues you in to the must order dish offered at Ichimi Ann, which also has "Bamboo Garden" on its sign in English. That soba, while different from a hot pepper for sure, also bursts with flavor on each bite.

The magical noodle they make here is at the same time very light and with high density. In better times the most popular order is probably the simple zaru soba, fresh noodles laid out on a bamboo draining mat (zaru), topped with nori, and served with their beautiful dipping sauce, which pats on your tongue softly with both salty and sweet.

If you are taking your soba home with you, it might make more sense to get it as some kind of hot or cold soup, helping the noodles come back to life after sitting in a container, a process they never desire. On cold evenings bowls of hot niku soba ($13 with tanuki upgrade, above and below) are never a bad way to go. They would not dare serve a broth unworthy of putting on their star noodles, but the way it is both earthy and warming while still being pristine and light is more magic.

This bowl is perfect for someone that needs a bit more protein, as ultra-thin slices of beef populate the broth as well. These seasonings are delicate and subtle, allowing the soba to remain of utmost importance in every bite.

When the sun is out and faded Old Town Torrance is not so chilly, it is also a great time to try their cold soba dishes, which also come with clean and pleasant soups that ooze the precision of the country of their origin.

Selections like tsukimi soba ($9.50, below) can be enjoyed any day, not just during the moon viewing events they are named after because of the fresh raw egg that tops the bowl.

If you are in the mood for some tang, try the yuzu oroshi ($12, above) which adds both the namesake citrus and grated daikon to the top of the soba bowl.

Better back with a hot soup base is the ten kake ($15, below) which throws on quite of assortment of their freshly made tempura. This could have probably benefited from having the tempura served on the side so that they do not get soggy, but if you do order it prepare to eat quickly.

For diners that are in the mood for something more hearty on a pandemic-pared down menu, the half-half combo of beef and curry over rice ($10, above) sticks out and does not disappoint. The same thinly cut strips of fatty beef found in the niku soba above are joined by a nice pour of gently seasoned curry.

It was always so much enjoyment to come here, place an order and find a small table or counter seat, but this past year over multiple visits it is quite a feat that Ichimi Ann has been pulling off such good offerings of their food for takeout as well.


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