Important discovery: Orenchi Ramen, one of the so-called ~*best*~ ramen restaurants of the South Bay, is a mere 10 minute drive from my house. And I can (will) see myself going there often (every weekend). So I think it's only right that I kick off my South Bay review series with Orenchi. Nestled inside a strip mall between a Grocery Outlet and a coin-operated laundromat sits Orenchi Ramen - the most unassuming ramen joint of all time. It could have easily been passed up as one of the many nondescript establishments found in any strip mall had it not been for the massive throng of people spilling into the parking lot. We arrived on a Sunday at about noon to face a wait of a little over an hour. Thank goodness we did not arrive any later as my name was one of the last on the list shortly before the rest of the sheet was crossed through, since Orenchi's hours actually vary depending on soup availability - and note: they do not take reservations. If you're not present when your name is called, you have a window of maybe 3 seconds before you're marked as a no-show and then it's on to the next one. Rough life.
After nearly finishing a box of Annie's Bunny Graham Crackers and what felt like an eternity, my name was called. We were seated in a dining area that was just as unremarkable as the outside of Orenchi, which speaks volumes about its food quality amirite?? Orenchi's only interior decor are polaroids of its loyal fans that line the walls (sidenote: one of my life goals is now to be on an Orenchi wall). The menu features four types of ramen: tonkotsu, shoyu, shio, and tsukemen. And because I always endeavor to consume the most flavorful (and therefore fattiest) bowl, I opted for their signature tonkotsu Orenchi ramen.
The broth had that milky quality to it, definitely stuff of the heavens. Toppings included green onions, mushrooms, a soft boiled (to perfection) egg, bamboo shoots, a thinly sliced piece of fatty pork, and a piece of nori. My added toppings were spinach and fish cakes. I am soo not a fan of bamboo shoots in ramen broth because of the gross pungent taste they leave so I picked them outta there asap. However I can barely ding Orenchi for that because the bowl was so dang delicious. The noodles were so hearty, thick, and springy. Fact: I took a 3 hour nap immediately after finishing my meal because it was all I could do with the pairing of heavy noodles and fatty broth weighing me down. As I reflect on that now, I must wonder if that's a common occurrence for patrons of Orenchi because all that sodium I consumed must have been preserving my insides leaving me to become a sort of lifeless umami-mummy.
Summary: their tonkotsu ramen obliterated me. In the best way.