AlienCyborgs goes to Anime Ramen in Las Vegas…YUM!
Nestled in an unassuming little strip mall in the Asian sector of town, hides one of Las Vegas’ best kept secrets…a ramen house. But not just any old ramen house, an ANIME RAMEN house!
At first glance the restaurant doesn’t look any different from any other strip mall Ramen House. We were even greeted with obligatory Japanese salutation when we first walked in :* “Irasshaimase!”
*Roughly meaning “Come on in!”
That’s right about when you notice the glaring difference between this ramen house and all the other ones you’ve been too.
The high pitched and bubbly greeting came from the back of the restaurant, it took a few seconds for my eyes to adjust from the blaring Vegas sun to the cool interior of the restaurant.
At first, I thought my eyes were playing tricks on me but when my eyes finally focused and I saw the ear to ear smile on fellow AlienCyborg “Mem Z’s” face, I knew what I was seeing was in fact real.
We were greeted by an adorable freckle faced asian girl with long flowing cotton candy pink hair that came down to the small of her back. I later found out that our hostess/servers name was name was Ploy. As if Ploy’s bubble gum hair wasn’t enough to stop you in your tracks her Saccharine sweet Jpop smile would.
Let me also take a minute to describe the out fit ploy had on. She was wearing a what looked like a “Strawberry Shortcake” baby doll frock with white leggings and black Mary Jane shoes, she looked like a walking birthday cake. Don’t ask me how but it all worked out to be very cute…in an anime way, of course.
We were seated in a spacious booth directly across from a table of 6 teen geeks deep in conversation about how “…keeping up on the actual manga series and reading the books are soooo much better than watching the watered down animated version!”
To which the girl at the end of the table stopped knitting (yes knitting, the hot new pass time) and snapped back, “Well, not all of us can READ JAPANESE!”
After a few minutes of “ear hustling“, I decide to get back to the menu. I notice that the menu was stocked with all the usual fare: Teriyaki, Ramen, Fried Rice, Yakisoba that wasn’t what struck me as out of place…what DID strike me as being out of place was NOTHING was over $10! About a minute later another cute Asian woman by the name of Julie appeared at our table in what I can only describe as a “Cute Little Maid Outfit” with thigh high stockings and a hip length light pink and white wig.
She asked us for our drink order and suggested a Japanese yogurt drink Calpico, which MemZ gladly ordered, while I opted for an almond milk tea…*easy boba. Who doesn’t love boba, it’s the drink you can eat!
(*ed note- I love boba, but sometimes I don’t wan too many because the tricky lil’ tapioca orbs shoot up the straw and try to choke me out! Tricky bastards lil’ bastards.)
The Colpico was…interesting to say the least. It wasn’t bad at all, just not what I expected. The Almond Milk Tea on the other hand was bomb! Not too sweet and not too milky, I would have ordered another one I but didn’t want to wreck my appetite.
We also ordered two appetizers …and why not, it was on AlienCyborgs dime not ours! We got the Gyoza and the Mixed Tempura, both were as just as good as any other Japanese Restaurant that I’ve ever been too. The Gyoza was perfect and the tempura was light, crispy and fresh.
After wolfing down our appetizers and wait for your server to take our entree order, I start to look around at the establishment. Let me take a moment out to describe the decor, everything is clean and modern and all the walls are adorned with framed anime art. The central focus in the room is the large LED monitor mounted in the center of main wall that was running an anime of what looked like Green tea, Vanilla and Red Bean Mochi Balls happily singing in Japanese…interesting.
Recap so far: Drinks, “yum”. Appetizers, perfect. Ambiance, fun. Girls,cute! So far so good.
Julie comes back to take our food order, I go with the “Ramen Special” which is : Tonkontsu + Shoyu broth mixed with onions, bean sprouts, a hard boiled egg and slices of tender pork!!
Mem Z orders the Stewed Beef Ramen. It has Beef broth , stewed beef, bean sprouts and green onion. Plus he added a hard boiled egg to boot!
The ramen didn’t take to long to come at all and when it did, we were presented with big steaming bowls of yummy goodnes! The bowl was so big I didn’t know if I should just dig in and eat it or climb in and soak for awhile!
I opted to eat since the sight of the noodles made my stomach start to growl in a very feral fashion and boy was I happy I did. The noodles were firm, the veggies fresh, the “special” mix of both Tonkontsu and Shoyu broth was just savory enough and the pork…the pork was perfect. It was tender, and not at all too fatty.
I’m pretty sure that MemZ was pretty happy with his choice because for the duration of the meal he was hunched over with his face in his bowl.
The entree portion of or meal was pretty silent barring the accidental sound of noodle slurping and a few “mm, good’s”
SLURPING! Now, I hear mixed things when it comes to the “Slurp”, I’ve heard that in some establishments in Japan that it is perfectly ok to slurp…it lets the proprietor know that you appreciate the ramen. While in Viet Nam and Korea it is considered rude to slurp. Since I was not in Japan, I decided to let my very western sensibilities take over and stifled my slurping and kept down to a minimum, only doing it accidentally once or twice. Well, and the sound is just kinda gross…I don’t think I would enjoy the sound of a room full of people slurping, yuck.
When we finally pushed the bowls away all we could do was lean back in the booth and stare at the ceiling due to the over load of noodles…that was until Julie flitted over and said one magic word: Dessert?!
Normally, I would have graciously declined but since we were doing a review, MemZ and I looked at each other and said “What do you recommend?”
“I know just the thing!” said Julie then spun on her heel and disappeared with a twinkle…at least that’s what I think I saw, I was in a food coma so dont quote me on that one.
Just as fast as she disappeared she reappeard with a plate in her hand that she set in between MemZ and I with two spoons, said “Enjoy” and vanished.
What was on the plate you ask…well, when I looked down I saw two triangles of french toast with a big scoop of green tea ice cream, drizzled with honey.
Needless to say the sweet hot/cold combo hit the spot and pushed us over the edge…WOW!
I would almost say that our experience at Anime Ramen was ALMOST perfect. The reason I don’t say that it was perfect is due to the fact that they dont have a back room with comfy couches in front of T.V.s playing anime to pass out on! Other than that the experience was pretty damn satisfying.
Now if you ask me to be honest and rate the ramen on a 1-10 scale, I would have to say that it is definitely better than most I’ve had but not as good as others. And by others I mean “Chabuya” in W. Los Angeles, “Ramen-Ya” also in W. Los Angeles and of course, Daikokuya in the Little Tokyo district of Downtown L.A.
GALLERY OF TRADING CARDS
So having said that I give it a 7.5/8 out of 10 (10 being Daikokuya and Chabuya) on the noodles alone…now factor in all the kitschy anime goodness to the equation, the overall experience was a 8.5. The only reason why I don’t rate it higher is because we were there on a quiet afternoon, I hear the place is jumping on weekend nights. Hopefully next time we can make it for dinner! Definitely a place to come if you like Ramen and you love Anime!
Today’s Menu Rating
Jet: Milk tea boba
Memz: Stewed Beef ramen
Beef, bean sprouts and green onion
Jet: Tonkontsu + shoyu Special
Onions, bean sprouts, hard boiled egg and sliced pork
Honey french toast with green tea ice cream