Ramen in Alhambra…though…well, you’ll get the point in a minute.
Some trips are planned. Some are totally random…
I was cruising through Alhambra when I happened to see Rutsu18 out of the corner of my eye. Now, it was a couple of months ago, and…at the time, I couldn’t tell if it was open or closed. Couldn’t see any people. Couldn’t see any activity…
I decided to mentally bookmark it, and move on to the next place…
Came back by and it was definitely open. I did a quick right, and pulled into their lot.
Hmm, one space left that day. Must be fate.
Well, I learned a couple of things. One, the place had only recently opened, which may have explained that deserted sensation I picked up my first drive by.
Second, they made the place look nice. It’s got that cool, modern, clean feeling all the young restaurants are into these days. Bright wood table and seats. Place looked more like an IKEA than a Ramen joint. The lights were low, letting the natural light from outside do all the work.
You sit down, open a…decently large menu for a place like this, and go to work.
Me? It’s got Ramen in the name, so you know what I’m after.
Overall, its okay. Remember, we don’t grade on perfection, we grade on good here at Is It Any Good, and Rutsu18 has plenty going for it. Basic competency is something we should value in restaurants. Rutsu18 a nice atmosphere. Staff is friendly and nice. And the food (the Ramen) is good.
Is the Ramen drive way the hell out of your way good? No. That’s Kosuke down the street.
Is it…damn the line is too long at Kosuke, and I want some Ramen right now…good?
Oh, yeah. Definitely.
WHAT SHOULD I GET?: So I ordered the Tonkotsu Ramen, because…well, I’m in a Ramen joint, that what’s you do. What can I say? It’s your basic bowl of Ramen. Nothing super inventive, nothing at all bland either. They’ll do well by you, but if you’ve had Ramen before, you know what to expect.
Of course I had a little more room than that, I went for the The Chicken Karaage, because…well, I always get the Chicken Karaage. And like the others I’ve had, it’s not bad. Of course, this comes with a spicy dipping sauce. What can I say. It was done well. The sauce wasn’t bad. Did it blow my mind? No.
In the end, we don’t penalize places for doing their job. There is better out there in the San Gabriel Valley, but things are okay at Rutsu18.
IMPORTANT SAFETY TIP, PEOPLE: If I were you, I’d mind the hours. During the week, they shut down for a stretch between lunch and dinner. So be mindful.
Also, even on my successful trip this last time, the place just looks dark and closed from the outside, even if it’s open. I think there is an “Open” sign at work now, so it should be clearer, but the building’s design doesn’t read open and airy.
PARKING: Mixed. There is a lot out back of the restaurant, that may be filled by the time you get there. There is also a Wells Fargo-slash-Smart and Final across Almansor St. You can try to park there (or along Almansor or Main Street itself). But you’re taking a risk. Still, over all, I like this neighborhood for parking, and you should find something. If you’ve got to walk a block or two, it’s no big deal.
645 E. Main St.
Alhambra, CA 91801
Tel: (626) 458-8388
Monday-Friday: 11:30 am – 2:30 pm, 5:30 – 9:00 pm
Saturday-Sunday: 11:30 am – 9:30 pm