Monta Ramen - Las Vegas


Monta Ramen
5030 West Spring Mountain Road
Las Vegas, NV 89146-8715
(702) 367-4600

Hours:  Mon-Sun 11:30am-11pm

Let me say...when you are feeling crappy with a cold, there is nothing like something comforting for the belly.  For me...it's any kind of soup noodles, and I think that this is the same thing for many of you out there.

My friend Serena was visiting from the Bay Area and everyone was feeling a bit tired and under the weather, so a hot bowl of ramen was so tempting and perfect for all of us.  I've seen this place a couple doors down from Raku, and I believe another friend Tony had talked about it awhile back.

The art of the perfect bowl of ramen, finding that most exceptional hand made noodles has long been the pursuit of many who are hardcore ramen connoisseur.  One of my favorite movies is Tampopo - a Japanese film about a woman who owned a ramen shop, but everything from her broth to her noodles were lackluster and mediocre.  In this comedy, she beseeches the help of a truck driver and a few other special characters to help her create THE perfect bowl of ramen.

If you've never seen this movie and you love ramen or just food in general, you can appreciate what Tampopo goes through to create her perfect bowl of ramen.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0092048/

A little basic history on ramen:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ramen


This place is tiny!  So, if you come during a peak time, expect to wait.  Lucky for us, we didn't have to wait.  We sat down and take a look at the basic menu...just a few choices, some enticing sides that one might always enjoy with ramen ie: gyoza, fried rice...oh...pork belly too!

I looked up from my menu and looked across the room and saw the specials board.  Oh baby...I liked the sound of that combination!  So both Serena and I ordered the Tonkotsu Shoyu Ramen.  Annie got the miso ramen.


I added corn and extra spring onions to mine.


The noodles we had in the tonkotsu ramen were thinner and a bit on the soft side.  I typically like my noodles with some bounce and bite and this just didn't have it.  The flavor of the soup was nice, the chasu (pork) was super tender and fatty, just like I like it.  I liked crunching on the bits of corn.  Over all it was ok...BUT, I wish that we had the noodles in Anna's miso ramen.  Now, her noodles were fatter and in fact had a bit more bite to it.  I will not pretend to know everything about all the different types of ramen noodles out there...and seriously, I had no idea that they used two different noodles for the fattier based soups vs. the non-fatty soups.  

I was really interested in knowing more about why we had different noodles so I asked the waitress and she explained that the skinnier noodles were always used with the tonkotsu ramen because the fat from the soup won't cling to the noodles as much and make it too fatty to eat.  Where as if they used the fat noodles like the ones in the miso ramen, all that fatty goodness (at least that's how I look at it) would be clinging and absorbing into the noodles and people don't like that on their lips I suppose.  haha  But, if we like those miso noodles in our tonkotsu, we can request it.  So, for all you lovers of fatty goodness, get the miso ramen with your tonkotsu!
Hmmmm...condiments.  The essentials like la-yu (hot sesame oil), vinegar, shichimi pepper, shoyu, garlic and pickled ginger. 


Gotta make a great dip for the gyoza!  


These were beautifully pan fried, nice and crisp on the bottom.  Nice flavor.

The pork belly bowl...


The pork belly was cut super thin and when eaten by itself was a bit salty, but the sauce on the rice was the bomb!!  You had to really eat the rice and the pork belly together to counter balance the salt factor.  I could've eaten just the bowl of rice with all that yummy sauce.

Kimchee fried rice...


No, you don't have to rub your eyes, it's white.  I know, you read kimchee fried rice and expected it to be red.  So did the rest of us.  This is the one dish that I wouldn't order again, ever.  It just really lacked flavor, namely, kimchee flavor, and I don't think I really need to say anymore about it.  Too bad.

Anyhow...I would like to go back and try the food again, when I'm 100% better.  Maybe the food will taste different.  I didn't like my soft, skinny noodles, so that was a bit of a disappointment, but I did like Annie's miso noodles much better, so I will have to request that next time.  I will say that the hot, spicy (from the shichimi pepper) broth and gyoza hit the spot for me and I really enjoyed that.  I still think there is better out there...but perhaps this is the best that Vegas has to offer?  I'm don't know...

Still in search for the best ramen in Vegas.  (You all know this is going to be tough.)

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