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JINYA Ramen Express Now Open at Hollywood & Highland

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Photo credit: Jinya Ramen Express

Newly opened at Hollywood & Highland, JINYA Ramen Express is the fast-casual offshoot of the always-bustling JINYA Ramen, located in Studio City, Santa Monica, and Mid-Wilshire.

Similarly to concepts like Chipotle and ShopHouse use, you head to the counter, where a bowl is customized to your specifications. Choose from a steaming bowl of ramen, a ramen salad or a rice bowl. Then go for one of five types of broth: tonkotsu, spicy miso tonkotsu, chicken vegetable, spicy chicken and vegan miso. And decide on a style of noodle: thick, thin and spinach. Finally, select from a variety of proteins and a plethora of garnishes.

The protein choices are crispy fried chicken, rich pork chashu (pork belly), pork saboro, beef saboro, mapo tofu, grilled chicken, and soft boiled egg. I found the pork chashu and the crispy chicken particularly noteworthy. For veggies, opt for buttered corn, Brussels sprouts, green beans and red onion, and spicy bean sprouts. Other add-on choices include black garlic oil, spicy sauce, chili oil, pickled ginger, crispy garlic, sesame, garlic, jalapeño, onion, scallions, tomato, and kikurage mushrooms.

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Photo credit: Jinya Ramen Express

With so many options it’s easy to end up with a bowl made up of ten or more elements, leading me to wonder after I’d ordered if the flavors would get muddled. But as it turned out, I had no regrets. The Brussels sprouts, a rather unorthodox ramen addition, held up well in the spicy tonkotsu broth, and the final product, with jalapeños, chili oil, crispy garlic, an egg, two types of meat, onions, and sesame, was delicious. I also tried the vegan broth and was impressed with its rich flavor.

If you’d rather leave the flavor merging to the experts, you can choose from three signature bowls. Have room for dessert? You won’t want to miss out on the creamy panna cotta.

JINYA Expess’ small space has no interior seating, but you’ll find plenty of seats (and heaters, thankfully) directly outside.The location, on the third floor of Hollywood & Highland near the Chinese 6 Theater, is a bit tricky to find, but you’re likely to agree that it’s worth the search once you’ve savored the well-simmered broth.

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