To mark Asian American Pacific Heritage Month, Gil Asakawa, Westword's first arts/music editor, served up a list of a dozen of his favorite Asian restaurants in the metro area — family-owned eateries that offer everything from Korean to Vietnamese to Chinese to Japanese cuisine.
After a tough year, these restaurants are welcoming back full dining rooms of customers...and hungry readers appreciated his suggestions. Most of them, at least, judging from comments left on the Westword Facebook post of Asakawa's list. Says Serena:
What a great list of Asian restaurants. Can't wait to make my way through it. Thanks.
Mason's Dumpling Shop in Aurora, Menya Noodle Bar in Denver, and Zoe Ma Ma should also be on this list.
How could you possibly do this piece and not include Kokoro just off Colorado Boulevard and south of Evans? It is my favorite restaurant in Denver. Kokoro has many, many loyal patrons, repeat customers for years. I'll put it up against any other "Asian" restaurant.
Next time we get ramen, let's try this Ramen Star place.
But then there's this from Trent:
Have you eaten ramen before? Serious question. I went to Ramen Star at your recommendation and ate the tonkotsu ramen. The broth had a quarter-inch layer of oil and fat. The broth tasted charred or burnt, and it was viscous, like cough syrup. It lacked the characteristic creamy broth imparted by boiling raw, and split, pork bones exposing the marrow. It was literally the worst interpretation of tonkotsu broth I’ve ever had. The chashu was cut incredibly thin. The only redeeming quality of the bowl was the noodles, and even the noodles were slightly too thick.
Unfortunately, the noodles are not enough to make up for the flavor of the broth. There are other, much better and more authentic bowls of ramen in Denver that I would be happy to recommend, but you probably already know about them. I just can’t understand how Ramen Star made your Best of Denver 2021 list. Did they pay you to review them, and the other ramen shops didn’t?
For the record, Trent: Our choices in the Best of Denver are based entirely on our educated opinions, not advertising. Mark Antonation, our former Food & Drink editor, is a big fan of Ramen Star, as is Gil Asakawa; both report that they've never had a disappointing meal there.
And to others who wondered about the inclusion of Boulder spots on a list of Denver restaurants: Since we introduced the first Best of Denver in 1984, we've considered everything in the metro area (and yes, that includes Boulder) eligible — whether they advertise or not. After all, you wouldn't skip a great concert if it were in Boulder...