Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Inaba Japanese Soba Noodle Restaurant @ S. Decatur Blvd, Las Vegas

Nabeyaki Udon Noodles with Kakikomi Gohan


With a bourgeoning Japanese community thriving in Las Vegas, there's an emerging Japanese restaurant enclave that's exciting to observe and participate.  We're definitely coming into our own, rivaling that of LA and evolving into a Japanese foodie hub of the Southwest. And there's definitely demand, every Japanese hotspot is crowded, reviewed by every critic and blogger in town, and in the Top To Do Lists for Dining in Sin City.  Next stop, total world domination!  Muwahaaaaa!

And it's not just the fine establishments that are getting the attention, it's the casual restaurants that truly define a culture and represent the heart and soul of food....                                      

Inaba Japanese Soba Noodle is a small chain from LA which serves, as the name suggest, Soba and Udon Noodles... It's another Japanese staple cuisine, where noodles are the hallmark of everyday cuisine, with a variety of different executions from cold Soba Noodles with various accoutrements, to hot steaming bowls of Noodle Soup to warm up the body on a cold day....

Click below to read more....

We decided to make our way over to the other side of town and get there just as it was opening up for dinner, we thought it would be crowded...it wasn't.  But after a while, people came in  and filling up the restaurant. As is the case in most restaurants off the Strip, the interior is really nothing to write about, except that it's kinda depressing....no ambience to speak of - but we're here for the food so no quips!

Buta no Kakuni (Braised Pork Belly)

We started the meal with a small plate: the Braised Pork Belly which is a favorite of ours. This is a home-cooked comfort food version of the dish, (unlike the polishd, glossy kind you get at the snooty, hoighty, toighty Japanese restaurants on the Strip) with Braised Pork Belly, Carrots and Daikon and Spinach topped with Scallions.  It's served with a side of hot mustard and it is a quintessential comfort food dish. I wasn't overly impressed with the pork, (my piece had a knuckle, so it wasn't belly) so it was a misnomer, however it had all the robustness of the typical dish, (minus the layers of fat) the Daikon was cooked perfectly and the soup was delicious.  





I ordered the Nabeyaki Udon, a noodle soup cooked in a pot chock full of delicious ingredients!  The Udon here is not your typical fat noodle, here it's a little thinner but just as tasty, the chewiness of the noodle was orgasmic to the bite and the broth was robust but not overly salty!  On top of the noodle: Shrimp and Vegetable Tempura, Hard Boiled Egg, Salmon, Squid and Greens- it was  a lot of food!  Most Noodle dishes come as a set, so with it came a rice dish -Kakikomi Gohan. A light, subtle flavored rice with vegetables and light seasoning gave a balance to the hot noodle soup, a textural departure..if you will...

Close up

A little note about the Gohan (rice)-it's not fried rice, it's actually rice steamed with Vegetables, (for further information and rants: check Yelp under Inaba Soba,  review by Alex S. is truly informative if not a  little funny to read - he's pretty passionate)!                                                  

I keep forgetting that I really can't have hot noodle soup unless my body is below freezing, my head starts to sweat like a waterfall and doesn't end until, luck would have it,  I'm out of the restaurant!  (Btw, the Nabeyaki is like a cauldron...it's boiling hot).  
But wanting to try this dish, it did not disappoint - I loved the toppings and I would recommend this to those who love Noodles and really Hot Broth!

Rick ordered the Tendon, (Shrimp Tempura Bowl):  Shrimp and Vegetable Tempura over a bed of Rice with Soy Sauce.  An excellent dish; the Shrimp was fresh, the Tempura batter and frying was well executed and overall I would get this dish again in a heartbeat.  You can get a combination most of the dishes, which is a noodle side dish, either Soba or Udon, and either hot (Kake) or cold (Karu), he ordered the Hot Udon Noodle.



The Udon was great, different than the Nabeyaki, (much simpler with less lava like qualities) it had few toppings but still a simple and great add-on.  This Noodle with Rice Combo is Carb lovers dream and we literally rolled ourselves out the door!

Next time, we have to get the Ten Zaru, (Cold Tempura Soba Noodles with Tempura), it's my favorite and perfect on a hot day!! Also, I want to try more of the small plates: Zuke Tororo, (Marinated Tuna with Yam and Quail Egg) the Battera, (Cured Mackerel over pressed Sushi Rice) and the Hirame Kobujime, (Kelp-infused Halibut with Ume-Shiso over Pressed Sushi Rice).

In any case, it is a much welcomed addition to the collection of top quality Japanese restaurants that our fair city has accumulated, and Inaba stands out with its focus on noodles, awesome concept and great delivery!!!


Ratings (Out of Five Stars)

Food:          3.75
Ambience:  2.5
Service:      3


I-Naba  on Urbanspoon