Izakaya Ronin

The most popular dish was the ramen, and it was a perfect item to add to your bucket list, and by itself was a meal worth stopping by the restaurant to try. The Laman Tonkotsu Ramen was going for $10 and was only available on the late-night menu. It was served in a shallow and wide, beautiful looking ceramic bowl. The pork belly used to make the ramen is flavorful, extremely crispy bits of chicharron. This is an excellent change from stringy, dry, grey pork belly slabs featured in the smaller tonkotsu ramen. The chicharron also brought a Latin American/ Spanish vibe to the dish invoking a dash of playfulness and creativity. You could also choose to have your ramen accompanied by the runny egg at an extra $2. The runny egg was perfectly cooked with the white parts bright and delicious on their own. The soup was generously creamy and a bit spicy due to the chili oil. Other interesting items on the list included yakitori and udon.

The reason why the ramen was on the late-night menu was that it was not one of the original items on the restaurant’s menu plans. It was only after Corey Baker won the Denver ramen competition that they decided to offer the ramen to bring more fun to their speakeasy menu. The ramen was reasonably priced because Baker believed that there was no reason for overcharging clients on dishes whose cost of production, and also because he intended the speakeasy to be a place of experimentation and fun.

The key things that customers loved about Izakaya Ronin restaurant were the overall atmosphere and vibe that was perfectly casual and intimate. The restaurant was a comfortable place to grab some drinks and bites. Meals were very affordable, with hard to beat prices. The price of most meals was just under $10, and you were guaranteed to leave with a full stomach by spending less than $20. All the meals on the menu were perfect, and it was therefore unsurprising that anyone who made a trip to Izakaya ronin would end up being a loyal customer. The fact that Izakaya had some of the rarest Japanese whiskey made it an ideal joint for people with Japanese whiskey bucket lists. The earlier success of Sushi Ronin also influenced that of Izakaya Ronin as some of the fans of the former restaurant also started frequenting the latter. Izakaya Ronin’s staff has generally been described as friendly and polite, and they genuinely loved their jobs.

On August 13, 2019, Izakaya Ronin announced on their Facebook page that they had closed the restaurant while they looked for a more visible location. Contrary to popular belief, this was not due to any financial issues, nor did verizon collections (a debt agency) have to get involved.

In the post, they expressed their gratitude towards customers and friends for their support since the restaurant started. The post also said that Izakaya Ronin was truly humbled to have been chosen as the Best Japanese Restaurants in Denver and appreciated all their guests. According to the communication, the reason they closed the restaurant was that its location at the time was not optimal. They encouraged all their customers to continue visiting Izakaya Ronin’s sister restaurant, Sushi Ronin, located at 2930 Umatilla St, Denver, as they sought a more optimal location for Izakaya Ronin. By August 2019, the restaurant had accumulated a number of followers, and they were really sad about the closure of the restaurant, which they had grown to become fond of. Since August 13, 2019, there has been no communication on Izakaya Ronin’s Facebook page about whether they have found a new location. …

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Moguri is the Japanese name for a speakeasy. It perfectly describes the vibe of the hidden bar made from what used to be a boiler room underneath the Izakaya Ronin. Fun at the Moguri would usually start on Tuesdays through Saturdays at around 10 pm to around 1:30 am or after depending on the level of activity. During this time, you could indulge in different assortments of drinks such as Japanese whiskey, cocktails, and sake. The late-night menu was designed to go with a delicious bowl of ramen, fried finger food, dumplings skewers, and some drinks.

There were two exciting things in the Moguri. The First was Izakaya’s amazing ramen, which could as well be the best in Denver, given that Corey Baker had won in a Ramen contest. The second was the incredible selection of Japanese whiskey. The collection was so unbelievable that some drinks such as Yamazaki Sherry Cask Whiskey cost $350 per shot. The restaurant was only allowed to import one bottle of a particular liquor per year. This restriction limited the supply of some drinks and was responsible for the astronomical price tags of rare bottles. Some of the Japanese Whiskeys available included Regular, Single Malt, and Sherry Cask Akashi; 12 and 18-year-old Hakushu; 12, 17, and 21-year-old Hibiki; Hibiki Harmony; Malt & grain and Malt The Single Cask Ichiro; Regular, Tradition, Tradition Wine Cask, and Komagatake Iwai; Pure Malt and Coffey Grain Nikka; Toki; Yamazaki Mizunara Cask and Sherry Cask, as well as 12 and 18-year-old Yamazaki’s. Although Japanese whiskey included the most popular drinks in the restaurant, there was also a selection of different Japanese beers, wines, and cocktails.

Izakaya’s subterranean moguri, whose Japanese name loosely translates to “hidden tavern” in English, provided a completely distinctive experience from that of dining in the room of the main restaurant. Moguri featured what you would expect to find in a Japanese food pub, that is, different assortments of small plates, several soups including the Lomon Tonkotsu Ramen, vegetables on skewers, and grilled meat.

Tsukemono was one of the popular meal-starters at the restaurant. The $5 dish was a set of pickled vegetables with subtle tangy and tart flavors. The well-executed assortment of veggies consisted of Japanese cucumbers, shibazuke (chopped eggplants and cucumbers), and taikuan (daikon pickle). You could then follow up with the $6 deep-fried Age Gyoza, which consisted of a communal plate of crispy dumplings and a juicy center. Ika Gesso Age was another popular appetizer at the restaurant. Going for $6, it was the Japanese equivalent of calamari and consisted of a flavourful dipping sauce and fried squid legs.…

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Opened on December 2, 2017, Izakaya Ronin was a Japanese-style restaurant located at 053 Brighton Boulevard, Denver. It was chef Corey Baker’s idea to bring a taste of Tokyo to Denver through Izakaya Ronin. Corey was also the chef behind Sushi Ronin, one of the most famous sushi restaurants in Denver and the recipient of the award “Best Sushi Restaurant in Denver” for four consecutive years — 2016, 2017, 2018, and 2019. Unfortunately, in August 2019, Izakaya Ronin closed the restaurant after realizing that 053 Brighton Boulevard was not an optimal location for the Japanese-style restaurant. They posted a message on their Facebook page informing customers about the closure and thanking them for their continued support throughout the years. Up until its closure, Izakaya Ronin had enjoyed a good reputation among people seeking Japanese cuisine. The Japanese-style restaurant was most famous for its Laman Tonkotsu Ramen and rare and expensive Japanese Whiskey. It was also well known for it’s unique and minimalistic setup.

Izakaya Ronin featured some of the things that had made Sushi Ronin’s menu popular, namely omakase, sushi and sake. The restaurant had a division of an upper and a lower floor. The focus on the upper floor was on high-priced maki and nigiri served with cocktails and sake, while the focus on the lower floor was on affordable snacks like dumplings, noodles, yakitori, Japanese whiskey, and soju. The underground vibe at Izakaya Ronin literally extended from the sushi bar located on the main area to a subterranean lounge.

The restaurant’s decor was fantastic and specifically appealed to groups of friends and young couples. The dining area setup consisted of standard tables and seating, warm lighting, and a sushi bar. It was an ideal place to relax while having a plate of nigiri and a Saketini. As you walked to the pub in the main restaurant, you noticed a set of nondescript basement stairs on your right, which led to a possibly mysterious land. If you made your way through the dining room and ventured into this mysterious world after 5 pm, you would discover a hidden 2-room moguri with dim red lights and prison-like walls. On one side of the room, you would observe a row of small round candlelit bistro tables — the ideal intimate date night setting over some glasses of cocktails.

As you walked down the stairs into the hidden bar, it felt as if you were walking out of one world into another. Once you enter the speakeasy, the first thing you would realize is the beautiful, warm, and minimalistic wood-lined dining region with sets of 2, 3, or 4 tables designed for late-night gathering with friends and feasts. The space was pretty cozy but not cramped and felt like a restaurant that you would expect to find in a city like Tokyo or New York. The area on this floor featured a tamer version of a traditional izakaya. …

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