Mr. Ramen, along sushi and ramen row on 1st Street in Little Tokyo, is a bit of an ugly duckling -- the decor is pretty utilitarian -- just florescent lights, tables and a table with Japanese newspapers and comic books to read. And most times when I go, I'm usually one of two or three patrons in the place, making for a somewhat lonely atmosphere. But I keep going back because it delivers where it counts: they make decent ramen at very good prices. The noodles are chewy and tasty, the soup (especially the pork bone soup, which is rich and delicious) is flavorful. You can add on any number of toppings for an extra fee, like spinach, egg, another slice of roast pork or crispy tempura bits to customize your experience. The service is fast and friendly. The only thing that's missing is the energy, the hustle and bustle of a neighborhood ramen joint that you see at places like Asahi Ramen on Sawtelle. But then again, you're never rushed to finish eating because people are glowering at you while they wait for a table. Parking can be a pain -- I hate to pay more than a buck or two to park to eat cheap food -- but then, this is L.A....
Pros: Tasty ramen, good prices, friendly service
Cons: Slightly dowdy decor, no free parking, no 'crowd' energy that comes from a busier joint