Wednesday, April 17, 2013
Monta Chaya @ 9310 S Eastern, Las Vegas
Finally, Monta has opened up on my side of town; no longer do I have to traverse the I-15 and hazard Desert Inn Road with all the wonky crazies that can't drive for squat, all just to gamble on whether I'll be seated immediately (22 seats) or get to wait outside with the throng of addicts like I'm outside a methadone clinic in the Tenderloin...
And to be quite frank, with ALL the Ramen joints popping up like hedgehogs in town, I'm almost over it....almost. My first love is Monta, and I have a sweet spot for the food and the people who have been terribly authentic and hospitable. I have never had a bad experience there, and the food is on point!
And it's is soo damn close, I could stop by here almost everyday which is all too tempting. It's right beside my Japanese food store, Japan Creek, (same owners) which happens to be right next to my gym! Talk about pure evilness...
As of right now, there's no signage, so you'll just have to remember that it's next to Japan Creek; the most awesome Japanese food store in Vegas. Albeit compact, they have the best produce for Japanese dishes, as well as Sushi grade fish, Pork and Beef sliced for Sukiyaki or Shabu Shabu. All just another way to sidetrack me off my clean diet, but really, I only really workout so that I can eat the things I love....it's a build/destroy existential quagmire that I secretly believe adds an insensible depth of character...or I'm just difficult and stupid-whatevs...
As you walk in, it's definitely an airier, well designed space, more than the original- a Monta 2.0 if you will... With some nice design elements and a little more decoration, you still have the central Noodle Bar where all the action happens, with just a few more tables than its predecessor. What's different is the enlarged waiting area right in the front that's effectively blocked off, there's nothing more annoying than trying to eat while you have the eyes of hungry customers drilling evil death eyes at your back for your seat. My evil side takes over; I take even more leisurely time to finish, carrying a long conversations about roman shades and Twilight... Yeah, I'm that guy... hate me but the anticipation makes the food taste much better, so I'm doing you a HUGE favor!
At Monta Chaya, the menu is little more expansive, along with your tradition Gyoza, there's actually an appetizer or two not traditionally served in a Ramen shop: you have some fried Calamari Rings, Chicken Karage and some Salads too. An expanded menu is a welcome addition to the simple menu.
I always order a plate of Gyoza, and it's as much a mark of the restaurant as the Ramen. I like to put a little Soy, hot Chili Oil and grated Garlic into my little sauce place and dip these suckers in and pop them whole.
I was surprised that they came out broken up, I usually expect them to be stuck together, as well, there wasn't that crispy, almost burnt crust that make that satisfying oral contrast with the juicy filling. But the quality was excellent, just a little execution mishap.
As it has gotten really warm, I have a cut off for Ramen (it just gets my body temp. so hot I sweat like I took a shower with my clothes on). But luckily, Monta serves up my favorite Summertime dish: the Hiyashi Chuka (Cold Chinese) - a broth-less dish, you have cold Chinese Egg Noodles with a choice of Sesame or Yuzu (Japanese Lime) Sauce with Toppings of: Chasu Pork, Tomatoes, Cucumbers, Bean Sprouts, Shredded Cooked Egg, Kikurage (Wood Ear Mushrooms) and Memma (Bamboo Shoots).
This dish is perfect on a hot day, when you just want to eat something cool yet filling.
I love Sesame sauce like a beast, it's my go to for just about everything; dipping sauce, salad dressing you name it. At first you may look at this dish and think, what the hell? Why am I eating a salad with these odd non salad ingredients? And this isn't really Chinese is it? Well, yes and no, kind of a Chinese/Japanese hybrid that, well, if you kinda of crave after you've had it a couple of times.
As usual, Monta Chaya did not disappoint, I loved the service and the food is always on par. I will have to try the Ramen soon, I just have to hope for a cold night, which is rare for us in April!!
Ratings (Out of Five Stars)
Las Vegas, Nevada USA 9310 South Eastern Avenue, Desert Sands Plaza, Las Vegas, NV 89123, USA