At first, I figured the people at Big Wong must have big cojones, or maybe they’re just crazy. Those seemed the only possible explanations why a new restaurant would be serving beef ramen just footsteps away from Monta Noodle House, the most beloved noodle bar in Vegas. Monta’s ramen—particularly the pork broth tonkotsu—is one of the city’s favorite dishes, as close to perfect as food can get. Big Wong does beef ramen, big bowls of highly slurpable wheat noodles with huge chunks of salty, tender beef and nearly gelatinous tendon. It’s very hearty, even if the broth isn’t as rich as those found nearby.
But after a greater sampling of its menu, it’s clear this place isn’t about throwing out a ramen challenge to the neighbors. Cantonese-owned and much more diverse in its selection, Big Wong is just another example of how great our city’s Chinatown dining district is becoming. The ordinary-looking Seoul Center on Spring Mountain just west of Decatur Boulevard already boasts Monta and the even more hype-worthy Raku izakaya, an extreme saturation of supreme Japanese eats in a tiny shopping center. And now you’ve got Big Wong, a quick-casual joint where everything is good and costs about five bucks.
- Big Wong
- 5040 Spring Mountain Road, 368-6808
- Daily, 10 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Take a seat toward the back of the restaurant, where it’s a little cooler. If you want to start with something to crunch, opt for an order of nicely oily fried shrimp wontons. Better yet, get at some of the best chicken wings I’ve had in a long time, fresh-fried with a crisp salt-and-pepper outside and all juicy inside.
It’s pretty much all meat, rice and noodles here, so get some vegetables on the side. Choy sum with oyster sauce or sautéed bok choy will do the trick. There are solid chicken and beef curries available over rice, along with ribeye steak, more fried chicken and pork chops. I highly recommend hoi nam chicken, stewed until tender and served with rice and dipping sauces of soy and ginger-chili. Order the dark meat and you’ll be impressed with how succulent and savory plain old chicken can be; it’s almost duck-like. This simple, satisfying dish is reason enough for a visit, proving that Big Wong is by no means a lesser version of one of our already great Chinatown restaurants. It’s a welcome addition.