MTN - I like you
I find it extremely difficult to drag myself down to Abbot Kinney. It's a pain in the ass. Parking is a nightmare. It is overrun with tourists. The once quirky and stylish boutiques have given way to mostly expensive chain stores. That being said, I will now make an exception to eat at MTN. (I assume you pronounce it "mountain", but that has yet to be confirmed). It is a small and spare space that feels more like a minimalist Japanese tea room than a restaurant. Dark wood walls and tables lit by diffused skylights create a clean and calm atmosphere. The bar wraps around a good portion of the room and the tables are tall and sometimes communal.
We started with the pickle plate, each vegetable unique in color and flavor, crisp and tart. I do love me anything pickled so I was into those. After that, we had the roasted eggplant. It was cooked perfectly, not too mushy or charred with a really delicate miso flavor. Then the ramen. Oh the ramen. The Jidori chicken and yuzu ramen was velvety and clean. Not too chicken-y and the mushrooms and spinach were super fresh. The Shitake mushroom ramen had the most full-bodied vegetable broth. I was surprised because, honestly, veggie broth does not do much for me. The pork bone ramen was incredible. The broth was the most traditional ramen broth, super rich flavor and melt in your mouth pork belly.
We drank a lot of beer (great selection) and cold sake (couldn't tell you which one but i'm sure they're all fantastic.) Our waiter was really really knowledgeable, to the point where I was convinced he had some sort of degree in Japanese food. Also, he was DISTRACTINGLY good looking. It gets crowded fast. We had a 5:30 pm reservation and it was full minutes later. The meal completely erased the memory of my swear-inducing pilgrimage across town, and that's saying something. If Zen was a food, it'd be ramen for sure.