Food for Thought: Monta Ramen

I live about half an hour away from my family home, so winter break is a weird time for me. All my friends and roommates ship off to wherever they’re from to reunite with loved ones while I watch things here on campus and find creative ways to cope with the month-long lull in my social life. The first few days consist of a short hibernation period where nobody can tell me anything because shhhhh I’m on vacation. After that, I exhaust all of my hobbies, clean everything, wander around looking lost, and then eventually come to terms with the fact that literally nobody can hang out with me for another few weeks. This is my life now. A lone wolfpack of one.

Wolves get cold and hungry, though, so I decided to start hunting for a few places with warm meals that I could hang out in on those long winter days. Cool looking places that I could take snaps of and get kind of dressed up for so all my friends with big, far-away families could see how much fun I’m having without them. So much fun. See? SEE?

A lot of people don’t seem to realize that ramen didn’t originally come from those little orange packages that have been clogging college students’ arteries for generations. So I went hunting for the fancy kind. The kind that other people make for you. The kind that comes with actual Japanese greetings when you walk in the door.

Monta Ramen is about 10 minutes off campus and offers all the fixings of a ramen shop you’d find in a much more exciting place. In fact, the owners own a few shops in Las Vegas, further driving home the cool factor.

Staff will greet you with an “irasshaimase” and offer you a spot either in the dining room or at the bar. The menu is short, offering three-dollar appetizers, a variety of hot and cold ramen dishes, fried rices, and a few specialty items. While all the ramen comes with basic toppings, customers can add anything from kimchi to corn for a few extra dollars and noodle refills (which I learned is called Kaedama) are available upon request. They also offer mochi ice cream for dessert, which is adorable and worth the visit in and of itself. I tried the Miso and Shoyu ramen entrees, which both came out fresh and flavorful.

And when you’re not eating, it’s just a really rad looking place. The decoration and atmosphere are a modern take on a traditional ramen shop, and while it’s big enough to hold a busy dinner rush, it’s not so massive as to feel like you couldn’t be a regular. I went in and sat for an hour or so to write this article and it was freakin’ delightful. The staff was attentive and friendly, but never pushy about me camping out. At one point my server even chatted with me for a bit after checking to make sure my water was topped off. By the same token, I could see myself bringing a few friends here for a light meal and some sake before or after a night out. So all and all, pretty great. It’s a warm little ramen shop with nice people, quality food, and an undeniable cool factor. They even have t-shirts so you know it’s totally a thing.

If you find the time to stop by, I highly recommend the takana fried rice in addition to any of the ramen bowls, because they’re all wonderful.

Visit them at 800 N. Coit Road, Suite 2550B.

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