Yes, vacation for me includes a good ramen hunt… What?
There are only a few reasons why one goes to Vegas: gambling, strippers, shows, and food…or a wedding (which is why I was there). The Vegas food scene is pretty huge. You can get anything from $5 buffets to $500 white table cloth dining. I was on a budget, so we stuck with the medium-high end buffets, and a few meals in between. One of the meals we had was at the Japanese restaurant, Ichiza, from a suggestion by VSly.
Remember that theory I have about all good first immigration, authentic, Asian restaurants being in strip malls? This further cements my theory. It was not only in a strip mall, but on the second floor of a strip mall. SWEET!
Once you got inside though, it felt like any small Japanese restaurant, with tables on raised platforms to sit at cross-legged, a low counter that looked into an open kitchen, and big groups of people seeming to all be celebrating something different at 1a.m. We were the odd balls that came in to eat food.
Dana and I took a seat at the low counter so we could see into the open kitchen. This is my attempt at trying to discretely take photos on my crappy canon powershot without them noticing…
they did a good job with the look and feel- it felt like a small late-night shop you might find in Japan
Daily specials scribbled in Japanese on a board with different sake vases hanging from the ceiling.
open kitchen… and I liked the material of their counter.
We shared an order of fried gyoza (Japanese style fried meat dumplings):
The view an innocent gyoza dumpling would have of the bar before being consumed via Dana’s hairy arm.
The dumplings were good, with just the right crispiness to the fried skin. As gyoza’s go, the skin is suppose to be thinner than a chinese potsticker, and they were. The only thing about these were that they were all stuck together, not the skins, but there was some “glue” holding them together that looked like a clear rice/water mixture- which makes me think they’re frozen and they don’t make them in-house. I could be wrong, and it could make them in-house and the “glue” could be the water/starchy mixture they use to seal the dumplings, and it just seeped out and stuck together. Either way, I picked at it for a while trying to figure out what it was, and needless to say it wasn’t the most appetizing part of the dumplings.
I got a SMALL bowl of pork ramen. I don’t know what a “regular” sized bowl would look like. This is slightly smaller than what I would’ve gotten in NYC and it was considered the small portion for almost half the price. I know it’s hard to visualize the size with no context… but the white spoon is a normal Asian-style white spoon/ladle and if this were a rice bowl- what I consider a small sized bowl to be- the spoon would take up at least half of the rice bowl.
The broth was surprisingly good. The noodles were supple, and the pork just eh. I’m used to Ji-Hye’s perfected pork belly/pork shoulder where it melts in your mouth… yum. This wasn’t slow cooked pork.
The ramen had a good texture. I don’t think they make them in house. If they do, they dry them before boiling, because I saw a nest of dried noodles that they plopped in water. These were not bad at all. You can tell they are not hand-pulled because of how thin they are, and their uniform shape very similar to spaghetti. Most likely these were made from a pasta machine- also not a bad thing, I’m just trying to get better at recognizing methods and the different styles of noodles.
complimentary tea. I really like their traditional style tea-ware.