Just when you thought it was safe to put away all your winter clothes, Colorado laughs and throws a nice little snowstorm in our faces. What better way to enjoy the unpredictable weather than with a steaming hot bowl of ramen. In the land of trendy, it seems that new ramen houses are popping up faster than we can slurp, but when you’re looking for a place that consistently delivers great noodles, stop at one of our favorites: Uncle. Owner Tommy Lee was one of the first aboard Denver's new ramen train and it shows; we awarded Uncle Best Vegetarian Ramen in our 2015 Best of Denver issue, so you know it’s going to be good.
Uncle's veggie ramen starts with vegan miso broth and piles on wild mushrooms, snap peas, kale and a soft egg. That's topped with enokitake mushrooms and and a shower of sesame seeds. Forgo the egg and the meal is vegan; keep the egg and it’s a creamy, emulsified delight. The snap peas are cooked al dente and add the perfect crunch, while the tender kale and mushrooms go just right with the noodles. And, oh, those noodles: They're custom-made to Uncle's specifications and nearly impossible to eat gracefully. These tasty strands of love are what keep Uncle loyalists coming back again and again. You can add fancy veggies and meats until you can’t see the bottom of the bowl, but if the noodles aren't up to par, then you might as well be eating Top Ramen at home.
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The ramen isn't news to Uncle's fans, so the small space fills up quickly. Uncle doesn't take reservations, so you might be looking at a wait of more than an hour during peak dinner service. A little planning will mean less of a wait: Stop by in person when the restaurant opens at 5 p.m. and put your name on the list for later in the evening, or just stay for an early dinner. And like many hot restaurants in town, your entire party needs to be present to be seated, but the staff will gladly serve you drinks while you wait.
Once you’re in, you’ll likely be sharing a long table with another party — which is a great way to get to know your neighbors. Slurping and drinking with Uncle's fun-loving clientele, whether you’re talking ramen or [enter cliché Denver activity here], you’re guaranteed to have great food, great company and a great atmosphere. So stop complaining about the snow (which has already melted), and dive into a brimming bowl at Uncle.