Ramen Yamadaya, with their original stores in LA, recently opened their first Orange County shop in the Costa Mesa area. Known for their 20-hour tonkotsu ramen, Yamadaya may prove to be some good competition for surrounding ramen spots like Santouka, Kohryu and Mentatsu. Tonkotsu broth is made from boiling pork bones for many hours and then simmering for many more hours to draw out its deep, rich flavor. Indeed, the broth itself has a milky color and you can see the small clusters of marrow that result from such a long cooking process.
I ordered the Tonkotsu Kotteri ramen, which comes with an extra "fatty" dose of the broth and fragrant black garlic oil. The broth was incredibly flavorful and clusters of fatty goodness clung to the spoon after each sip. The ramen included the typical soft-boiled egg, slices of chasu, bamboo strips, and green onions. The black garlic oil was good but even better was asking for fresh garlic cloves. Several peeled garlic cloves came on a small plate together with a garlic press for us to put directly into our soups. We could put as much garlic as we liked to our hearts' content! We ordered a combo meal to try out some of the sides.
The chicken karage was nicely seasoned and the dark meat was incredibly juicy and tender. The croquette bowl came with two potato croquettes over white rice, topped with katsu sauce, Japanese mayo and bonito flakes. The combination of flavors reminded me of okonomiyaki and we devoured it all. This is definitely a spot to add into our ramen rotation.