Toraya 24231 Crenshaw
Blvd Unit C
Torrance, CA 90505
Toyaya is located near Pick Up Stix in the northwest corner of the Torrance Crossroads shopping center. Parking in front can be tough at lunch but there is plenty in front of Office Depot if you don’t mind a little walk. The restaurant inside is cozy with a mixture of counter, tables and booths. Upon entry you are seated by a hostess. On our visit the restaurant accepted only cash. Our waitress told us that the restaurant is open until 2AM on weekends to accommodate the late night crowd.
CARL: According to other online reviews, the prior tenant, “Ramen California,” was heading downhill – fast. The string of bad reviews seemed to indicate the end was near for Ramen California and sure enough, the restaurant has changed names and owners. On our visit the new restaurant – now dubbed “Toraya” – was so new, they hadn’t printed proper menus yet and were still getting settled in. The sign out front still said Ramen California. Our server told us they had just opened within the last week or so and they were still “pre-soft launch”. When your waitress tells you that – it is somehow both scary and intriguing. Despite my travel to Japan and my visits to numerous “ramen houses” in my past, I know alarmingly little about how ramen restaurants work. Since our waitress was so nice and friendly, I asked for help and took suggestions. Oliver and I gravitate to the Lunch Specials so that was my starting point for today. With a little guidance I went for the Ramen + Small Bowl of rice combo. For the ramen I ordered the Spicy Miso (Sweet spicy Miso broth, bean sprouts, cabbage, and tsukne chicken) and for my rice side dish I ordered the “Chashu nitama Don” (Slow medium rare cooked egg and pork meat on white rice). The ramen was quite tasty and not too spicy. The Miso broth was thicker than I am used to with my previous ramen experiences but there were plenty of veggies in there along with ample and nicely cooked noodles. The bigger surprise for me was the Chashu nitama Don ride side dish. This part of the lunch came shortly after the ramen was served. As you can see from the picture above, there is a whole egg on top of pork and white rice. I dove in and found the egg to be slightly runny in the middle (intentionally of course) and the pork was spiced just right. I could have easily enjoyed a lunch of just this rice bowl – it was amazing! Overall a fun and tasty surprise. If you are headed to Pick Up Stix, consider trying Toraya Ramen for a change of pace. This restaurant has potential and the staff was very pleasant. I hope they find their audience and thrive in this location. I give Toraya a solid 4 Pigs.
Oliver: One thing about Torrance Cross roads is there is no shortage of Asian cuisine, and quite literally a new one popped up as we walked through the door. The old Ramen CA was an Asian fusion affair, while Toraya is more a traditional Japanese Ramen restaurant. Staring at the menu I was largely unfamiliar with most of the dishes offered. It was going to be another fly by the seat of my pants lunch. I looked for something that was substantial in terms of meat, but you will not find that on the menu. Instead there are a variety of special Ramen dishes that you can add different side dishes of specialty cooked rice and extras. I went with the Soy tonkotsu which consists of Creamy pork broth, chashu pork, spinach, bean sprouts and green onion. It came in $7.50. Along with that I also ordered their lunch special side order. these are basically a bowl of rice and other special items such as eggs cooked to different levels, kimuchi and chashu. Everything was very fresh and tasted great. Our server was awesome and very helpful. I look forward to going back and wish them a lot of luck in their new restaurant. Give them a try, you won’t be disappointed. I give them 4 pigs.