Ramen Tarzana

Keitaro’s Kitchen Serves Hiyashi Chuka and Chiffon Cake in Tarzana

Keitaro’s Kitchen is a family-run Japanese restaurant in Tarzana that serves two atypical dishes worth ordering: hiyashi chuka and chiffon cake.

If you love piping hot tonkotsu ramen (made with both pork and chicken broth), you’ll probably be happy at Keitaro’s Kitchen in Tarzana. If you go, it’s important to know about a couple standout dishes—not usually found at Japanese restaurants—that you won’t want to miss.

Hiyashi chuka ($9.50) is a chilled ramen bowl that’s popular in Hokkaido in warmer weather but suitable pretty much year-round here. Crimped ramen noodles come submerged in tangy ponzu sauce pool. Colorful toppings include crunchy julienne cucumber, omelet strips, sliced tomato, chopped scallions, bean sprouts, wakame, warm skin-on chicken thigh slices and punchy red ginger sprinkled with sesame seeds. Toss to integrate the different flavors and textures. Sinus-clearing hot mustard resting on the bowl’s rim and a jar of spicy chile sauce on each table let customers form a fiercer bowl.

Chiffon Cake ($4.50) is a fluffy house-made cake that something between angel’s food cake and pound cake. Each slab is plated with a sweet, earthy scoop of red bean paste, whipped cream and a single maraschino cherry. I ordered the green tea version; they were sold out, but I certainly didn’t suffer with the basic cake.

Keitaro is the chef, and wife Kay runs the front of house at Keitaro’s Kitchen. The couple opened their small cafe three months ago, featuring cushioned black-and-gold booths and burgundy walls lined with decorative Japanese hand fans. Those fans could certainly be useful in Tarzana during summer, but you’ll get more pleasure from the hiyashi chuka and chiffon cake.

19221 Ventura Blvd., Tarzana, 818-697-5288