The second location of Shinya Maru Ramen & Izakaya (following a Hard Rock Hotel-adjacent spot on Paradise Road) brings something to Fremont East that the district has needed for a while: an inexpensive, yet hearty and satisfying fill-up; a worthy base for a night of ambitious drinking. The ramen isn’t quite the equal of such local favorites as Monta or Jinya, but the tonkatsu broth is creamy, the thin noodles are perfectly cooked and there isn’t an item on the menu priced above $11. For those of us who have logged long hours in Fremont East—soldiering through music festivals, or squiring visiting family around—Shinya Maru is a gift.
Sure, the ramens have too-clever names—the classic tonkatsu is called Shoyu What Tonkatsu Is ($10)—but what they lack in subtlety, they make up for in flavor. Killing Miso Softly ($11) is tonkatsu-infused with miso and chili oil and loaded with green onions, bamboo shoots, bean sprouts and half a seasoned egg; it’ll power you through a night at Corduroy and then some.
And a menu of izakaya bites runs from the expected (deep-fried, chewy chicken karaage served with a sriracha aioli, $6) to the left-field (somehow, this Japanese quick-casual joint serves a tasty shrimp tempura taco, $6). And should these savory delights inspire a thirst that can’t wait for the next location, the bar serves sake, Sapporo and Asahi on draft, and fruit-laden sangrias and margaritas, because why not? The night is young.
Shinya Maru Ramen & Izakaya 520 Fremont St. # 150, 702-790-4340. Monday-Wednesday, 11 a.m.-midnight; Thursday-Friday, 11 a.m.-2 a.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m.-2 a.m.; Sunday, 10 a.m.-midnight.