This is the perfect time of year for the ultimate Asian comfort food on a cold winter’s night: ramen. But it’s not comforting that two of the town’s most popular Japanese noodle soup joints—Monta in Chinatown and on Eastern Avenue and Shoku Ramen-ya attached to the original Bachi Burger—are now nearly impossible to visit without finding a long wait and line out the door. So where else can you go for a savory bowl of noodles, pork, boiled egg and vegetables?
If money isn’t an object, Wazuzu (Encore, 702-770-5388) offers traditional chicken and tonkotsu (pork) ramen, plus a vegetarian option. Each is about $20, but every ingredient is incredibly fresh. Adding Korean-style kalbi ribs is a meaty twist. Feel like a real splurge? Add lobster, for $68.
Lucky Foo’s (8955 S. Eastern Ave., 702-650-0669) offers four bowls of ramen ($9-$13) with voluminous toppings; the ones with short ribs and pork belly stand out. This new restaurant recently adjusted its pricing to better fit its off-Strip location, and the ramen is even better discounted during happy hour (4-6 p.m. and 11 p.m. to close).
At the new 8 Noodle Bar (Red Rock Resort, 702-797-7576), chicken—with a light broth—and pork—a thicker, sweeter broth—options (both $12) give Shoku a run for my favorite ramen in town. This soup and this restaurant are so good that they’re worth my drive from Henderson to Summerlin. Fingers crossed that a location opens at sister resort Green Valley Ranch. It could happen.
Chinatown’s Big Wong (5040 Spring Mountain Road #6, 702-368-6808) is the epitome of no-fuss dining, and so is its ramen ($4.95). This big bowl could be filled with tender beef, or it could include a choice of white- or dark-meat fried chicken. Yes, fried chicken. Talk about comfort food.
Other unconventional places for good ramen include Bacchanal Buffet at Caesars Palace, the Buffet at Wynn and the new Fulton Street Food Hall at Harrah’s. All come with buffet or all-you-can-eat prices and formats, so maybe enjoy your ramen as a first course before digging into crab legs?