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Doe’s Game is Still Strong

Doe’s Game is Still Strong

Dinner at Doe’s last Saturday night proved to be a successful one, but before I get into the specifics, I’ll first mention that it’s wise to reserve your Porterhouse before heading to Doe’s on a Friday or Saturday night. Which I did. Smart decision …  […]

My 15 Favorite Bars in Little Rock

My 15 Favorite Bars in Little Rock

With the holidays upon us, I thought it would be nice time to highlight some of my favorite bars in the Little Rock area. When it comes to bars, I think it’s more about whether a place can serve a great cocktail or has a […]

Round 1 at Aji Ramen Bar

Round 1 at Aji Ramen Bar

I’m a lover of all things soup, so when I heard Little Rock was getting its first dedicated ramen shop, I was eager to try it out. Aji Ramen Bar, located at 301 N Shackleford, is exactly what its name suggests … a ramen bar. It’s a small, hip setting with only a few tables and a long bar that sits you right in front of the open kitchen. My first visit took place last Friday morning at 11:30. Given that Aji has only been open two weeks, it didn’t surprise me that the place was near capacity. As the Heart Hospital can attest, folks in Little Rock love their ramen. Here’s how things went.

Food

Aji’s menu isn’t huge, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Folks can choose from a selection of pork and chicken-based ramen bowls, both broth and non-broth, along with rice bowls and a variety of appetizers like steam buns, dumplings, pork belly, and spring rolls. There’s a nice selection of beer and even some warm sake. I opted for orders of Cha-Siu Ramen (T1), gyoza, and spring rolls, which was way too much food for one person, but I wanted to try out a few things for this review. The ramen, with its thin, perfectly cooked noodles, creamy broth, pork belly, soft boiled egg, green onion, corn, and strands of chili, was a mild hit. The noodles and those slices of delightfully fatty pieces of pork absolutely shined, and while I enjoyed how the broth wasn’t so rich and heavy, it did lack a little bit of intense flavor. The corn, whether it was canned or frozen, was a disappointment, but it certainly didn’t detract much from the overall dish. A fresh take on the corn would be a welcome sight. The gyoza, an order of fried pork and veggie dumplings (6), hit the spot, as did the fried spring rolls, although the accompanying bland cream sauce did nothing for me.

Prices

I thought the prices were very reasonable. The bowl of ramen cost $10.50 and was certainly big enough to create leftovers. The dumplings and spring rolls (2) ran $4.95 and $2.95, respectively.

Service

The service was warm, friendly, and quite attentive. The servers and management seemed genuinely interested in making it a wonderful dining experience. In fact, service really stood out and is what will probably get me back to Aji sooner rather than later. For example, when my ramen was taking a little long to prepare, the cook made sure to come over and let me know it would be just a few more minutes. Also, my server was very considerate to wrap up my leftovers.

Overall

Listen, this wasn’t perfect ramen. I’ve had better in major cities, but there’s no denying this was a legit, well-made version. From the looks of it, Aji is already wildly popular and my first visit led me to believe the restaurant will experience continued, long-term success in the future. It’s opening signifies a major and long overdue upgrade to Little Rock’s food scene.

Aji Ramen Bar
301 N Shackleford Rd Suite F3
(501) 414-8433
Hours: Monday-Thursday 11am-9pm; Friday & Saturday 11am-9:30pm; Closed Sunday

Dinner at Big Orange Midtown

Dinner at Big Orange Midtown

I got a craving for a Big Orange Midtown turkey burger last night, so I piled the kids in the car and headed over. The restaurant, per usual, was hopping, but not so crazy that we couldn’t immediately get a table. The kids ordered burgers […]

25 Favorite Restaurants in Arkansas Outside of Little Rock

25 Favorite Restaurants in Arkansas Outside of Little Rock

Below are my current 25 Favorite Restaurants in Arkansas Outside of Little Rock. More than six years of “research” and many miles of driving went into this list, and while it’s not perfect, I feel it is a fun and informative look at some of our state’s […]