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It’s all about the spice at new ramen shop in Chinatown

Updated February 29, 2020 - 12:49 pm

Do you like spicy food? A new Chinatown ramen shop promises to satisfy your craving for spice and flavor, no matter how high you like to turn up the heat. And for those who believe their palate has no limits, they’ve cooked up a special dish to put it to the test.

Ramen Shibire is located in the Center at Spring Mountain shopping center on Spring Mountain Road between Valley View Boulevard and Wynn Road (the same center that houses The Golden Tiki, Partage, Hot N’ Juicy Crawfish and Lee’s Sandwiches, among other hotspots). It specializes in spicy ramen tailored to each customer’s tastes.

What makes it unique, however, is that after guests choose their ramen base (tonkotsu, chicken, vegan miso or “carnivore”), they also pick a style of spice, which are arranged by color and heat. Those spice mixtures are — from mildest to spiciest — green, orange, white, red and black. Each is created from a different blend of peppers. And each is served on the side, so guests can add it to the broth a little at a time to, hopefully, avoid creating a dish that’s too hot to enjoy.

It’s worth noting that even the mildest spice mixture, a bright green blend of citrusy yuzu kosho and serrano peppers, packs a pretty decent wallop if you use the entire serving. And things just get hotter as you move up the chain. At the top of the list is the black sauce, the recipe for which is “a little top secret,” according to executive chef Gerald Noguez.

“One base ingredient, I’ll give you a clue, is ghost peppers, with different kinds of peppers from the family of ghost peppers,” Noguez teases of his recipe. “Your Carolina (reaper) and stuff like that. Whatever is in season, actually.”

For those who believe their tolerance for heat knows no bounds, he’s created the “Black Hole Challenge” — a massive bowl of their spiciest ramen with exaggerated portions. Anyone who can consume 24 ounces of this broth along with a quarter pound of pork chashu, two soy-cured eggs and a mountain of other toppings, within eight minutes, gets the ramen for free and their name and picture on the restaurant’s “Wall of Warriors.” Noguez says nobody has been able to accomplish that yet, and he doubts anyone will.

“There’s four million units per heat measurement in that bowl,” he says, referencing the Scoville heat scale — where a typical jalapeno is rated between 2,500 and 10,000 units. “That’s enough to knock someone down.”

The chef and the Ramen Shibire team will host a grand opening party from 5 p.m. to midnight Saturday. All ramen bowls will be 50 percent off, and there will be free beer for patrons of legal drinking age.

Contact Al Mancini at amancini@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-5250. Follow @AlManciniVegas on Twitter and Instagram.

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