Food

Mizu Izakaya: Ramen Worth Eating Over and Over

February 15, 2018
Bowl of tonkotsu ramen at Mizu Izakaya

For my latest installment in my quest to find the Best Ramen in Denver, I stopped by Mizu Izakaya in LoHi. I was cautiously optimistic to try the ramen based on the overall positive reviews of the restaurant I found online. And as luck would have it, we also happened to be there during their Happy Hour (M-Th 4 – 6 / 9 – close; Friday 4 -6 / 10 – close; Sat 1 – 5 / 10 – close; Sunday 1- 5), so we excited to try out some of the items on the incredibly cheap $5 menu.

That’s right – a $5 Happy Hour menu!

My cheap little heart loves a good deal!

Decor

Mizu Izakaya definitely has it going on in terms of cool, hip decor. From a giant mural on the way adjacent to the bar to the spray-painted sakura flower designs on the brick pillars, there’s a nod to the urban/industrial vibe of the neighborhood.

Mizu Izakaya lounge

The restaurant is bathed in the warm glow of filament bulbs of all shapes and sizes spread throughout the restaurant. There are a few awesome little cozy nooks, like one in the bar area, and also a lovely private room with two low slung benches around a rectangular table located in the back of the restaurant near the restrooms.

Corner table at Mizu Izakaya

Mizu Izakaya bar

We sat at a hightop near the slick looking bar.

Food

We order five items off the $5 happy hour menu. I was starving, so I ripped into the pork Gyoza like no one’s business. I would say these gyozas were middle of the pack – good, but not amazing (I prefer the gyoza at Izakaya Ronin since they are crispy), but definitely a level above your standard gyoza or what you’d get at Trader Joe’s).

Gyoza from Mizu Izakaya

The Shishito Peppers, which were sauteed with ponzu sauce on the side and Veggie Spring Rolls with sweet miso Thai chili were also good, but not great. Given they were all only $5 each, I can’t complain too much.

Happy hour at Mizu Izakaya

I really loved the Yellowtail-Scallion roll – this combo is one of my all-time favorites and they did it justice – plus the price was awesome. My husband absolutely fell for the Seaweed Salad made up of three types of seaweed, sesame dressing, and grapefruit slices. Both of these dishes were MVPs of the happy hour menu IMHO.

Yellowtail scallion roll

Seaweed salad

However, I didn’t come to do a happy hour review. I was in it for the noodles!  I’d seen a bunch of people post about the Miso ramen on Instagram, but our server said it was on the heavier side so instead I decided to go with the classic Tonkotsu ramen ($16).

Noodle pull of tonkotsu ramen at Mizu Izakaya

When it arrived I was instantly pleased with the sight of the noodles. They were not the same thick, wavy style noodles that I’ve noticed the majority of places that server ramen in Denver throw into their bowls. Instead, they were much thinner and more refined. More similar to the types of noodles that places like Totto Ramen in NYC use.

The broth, made of a chicken and pork broth mix, was on the milder side, but in a good way. The thing I really liked about the broth was that it was subtle, no aggressive flavors or using overbearing spice to make up for a thin flavored broth.

Overhead shot of tonkotsu ramen at Mizu Izakaya

The pork was good – thick chunky pieces, the fat was actually pretty tasty instead of it being just gelatinous goo.  I also loved every other item that was in the ramen – the soy pickled egg was especially tasty, and the mushrooms were delicious – not too tangy or vinegary. I liked the brightness of the green onions and there was just the right amount of sprouts.

There were a few pieces of bok choy, although I always wish someone would just break up the bok choy ahead of time – I always find myself trying to rip the pieces apart with my teeth and just end up having to eat the whole thing in one bite.

Shichimi togorashi at Mizu Izakaya

The bowl was also served with some togorashi, which I sprinkled on to my ramen for some extra flavor.

Verdict

Although there are some pedestrian items on the Happy Hour menu, there are a handful of winners that will wow you. At $5 a pop, at least your wallet won’t hurt after trying a couple of dishes.

The thing I liked the most about this ramen was it was the kind you could easily find yourself eating every day. No gimmicks – just good ramen. I think Mizu nails the proportions of each item – it’s the perfect amount of food and I found myself carefully composing bites that equally contained everything that was in the bowl.

Best Ramen in Denver ranking

  • Broth flavor – 8 points
  • Protein quality – 4 points
  • Noodle quality – 4 points
  • Other ingredients – 4 points
  • Presentation – 3 points

Total: 23 points

Details

Mizu Izakaya – 1560 Boulder St, Denver, CO 80211

  • Decor: Funky, urban, hip
  • Crowd: Young couples and groups of friends
  • Recommended: Yellowtail-scallion roll, Seaweed Salad, Tonkotsu Ramen

Have a recommendation for the next ramen joint in Denver I should try on my quest for the Best Ramen in Denver? Leave your picks in the comments!

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