What once was Orochon Ramen is now…well, this place.
A lunch with friends bought me back to Burbank, and to Mama Hong’s. But on arriving, I saw something that shocked me.
Orochon Ramen was gone.
Blitzed. Finito. El vanished.
It’s a crying shame, because…it’s not like Orochon was doing poorly, at least not these poor eyes. There was always a mess of people in there. But then again, I don’t look at their books.
So, what’s this place now? Kopan Ramen?
Sorry, Kopan Ramen 2. (NOTE: They’re not bothering with the website yet, so we’re going with the Facebook page.)
Not even sure if there is a Kopan Ramen 1 (there is, in Fullerton), but…okay. If they want to be in business, I should at least try them out. What the heck right?
Oh. Isn’t that interesting? They say they have a Pork bone based ramen that they cook for 16 hours. Okay, that works for me. I’m all ears…and taste buds.
I get in get a seat, order up…after a while. It’s darker inside Kopan, as opposed to Orochon. Moodier. Oh, and they’ve gotten rid of the projection screen TV.
Okay. Okay order’s in, and I’m waiting…
…and wait–this is not right. What the @#$% is going on here??
What the @#$% is going on here is that, even though Kopan Ramen 2 is a Ramen restaurant, taking over the space from a previous Ramen restaurant, Kopan Ramen 2 is a new restaurant. I think I’ve mentioned in the past that new restaurants need about a year to get all the kinks out, to become a fully functioning, smoothly running operation. And that applies here…
…even though it’s a Ramen joint…replacing another Ramen joint…
…and it’s allegedly the second restaurant in the chain?
For those of you who complained about Orochon’s service (and there were a lot of you) you’ll be pleased to learn nothing’s changed. The Soup is not bad, but the Service?
Even allowing for the year long adjustment, the service here can be a bit scatterbrained. You will be seated promptly. You will get your drink order in quickly. Everything else? Well…
Sooner or later they’ll remember you’re there. (Skip ahead to the Safety Tip, if you want more on this discouraging development.)
Can’t? Too bad.
But what about the food, you ask? My order was for the Chashu (Pork Belly) Ramen, small bowl, with some extra green onions and corn (in fond remembrance of Northern Japan). Well, I’m struggling to see much of a difference between Kopan and Orochon based on the menu. Pork bone based ramen broth. Same as Orochon’s. Customizable ramen. Exactly the same as Orochon.
Spiciness level. That’s new.
Two sizes. That’s new.
No butter as an add on. That’s just a damn tragedy.
But the soup itself, the stock, is very smooth an very creamy. Smoother and creamier than Orochon’s, tell you the truth. A bit smoother and creamier than Ajisen’s, but…I still like Ajisen’s better. It’s like it’s been strained a thousand times before hitting your bowl. It’s really, really good.
It is worth the disorganized nightmare it takes to arrive at your table? That’s another question.
I also got the Gyoza as part of a lunch combo. The Gyoza were…well, Gyoza. Nothing terrible. Nothing special either. If you like ‘em, get ‘em.
IMPORTANT SAFETY TIP, PEOPLE: Just go in knowing that the service (at least for now) is just damn slow; bordering on intolerably slow, and occasionally crossing the border. Then again, they’ve only been open since January, and only have two servers working the floor plus a hostess who helps out on drink orders. Orochon’s had at least three on most days, and they struggled with three. Now bear in mind the Waitstaff is not out to be rude or aloof. They’re just overwhelmed.
At one point, I actually saw a party of four getting up to leave, giving up. Just then their soup arrived, and they were convinced to sit back down again.
I started shaking my head at this point. These are not the sort of mistakes you want to be making when you open. It’s a great way to make sure people don’t come back.
But again, the servers weren’t being rude, they were confused. They were spending a lot of time getting out to go orders…specifically one to-go order that looked like it was for an entire office.
So, Kopan does to-go orders, which is fine but when the only two people working the floor also have to handle to go orders, trouble is going to happen. All of the sudden we’re all watching our server is heading into the back and disappearing for long stretches.
I’ve talked about this before. It’s not their fault, but it’s not a good look or a good start.
PARKING: Like with the dearly departed Orochon, parking for Kopan is a breeze. Consult our Burbank Parking Map for Garages and locales. There’s a great Garage just around the corner, on the same block. You won’t even have to use a crosswalk.
Kopan Ramen 2
220 N San Fernando Blvd.
Burbank, CA 91502
Tel: (818) 845-0817
Sunday-Thursday: 11:30 am – 10:00 pm
Friday-Saturday: 11:30 am – 10:30 pm