Hand-Made Udon Invades Little Tokyo at Monzo and Tsurumaru

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A bowl of udon at Monzo Photo: Midtown Lunch

Imported tsukemen, miso, and tonkotsu ramen joints are still the talk of the town west of the 405, but in Downtown, the thick, slick Japanese wheat noodles known as udon have suddenly made a noticeable push into Little Tokyo's core. Zagat announces the recent opening of Tsurumaru, which we first spotted last fall as it sought to bring a menu of house-made udon in several different styles and topping options (seaweed, deep-fried tofu, and beef) to the third floor of the Little Tokyo shopping center in a space next to Shojin. You can see the full menu right here, starting at four-dollars a bowl and including a cold shot of Japan's infamous bukkake noodles.

In more udon news for this neighborhood, Midtown Lunch has a ball over the bowls at Monzo, the new restaurant replacing Michael Cardenas' Japanese curry spot, Fat Spoon.

Another crafter of handmade noodles, the blog declares this one better and more sophisticated than Tsurumaru, with hot, cold, and curry udon topping a menu with specials like miso carbonara, udon gratin, skewered fried ocotpus, and duck nanban udon, priced between seven and thirteen bucks. [ML; Zagat]

Tsurumaru Udon, 333 S Alameda St. 3rd Floor, Downtown; 213-625-0280.
Monzo, 329 E. 1st St. Downtown; 213-346-9762.