After nine years serving noodles, tofu and Korean barbecue, Mr. Tofu has shuttered at The Center at Spring Mountain retail center in Chinatown and work will soon begin to transform the space into Monzo, the latest import from Los Angeles.
Preparing "the udon noodle elevated to cult status," according to Los Angeles Times food critic Jonathan Gold, Marugame Monzo debuted in L.A.’s Little Tokyo in 2013, part of the Mon Restaurant Group’s empire that includes local favorites Sushi Mon, Monta, Goyemon, Monta Chaya and Kabuto.
While paperwork shortens the name of the Las Vegas expansion to simply Monzo, Marugame, Japan will still provide the inspiration for the restaurant’s specialty, their thick, rectangular, Sanuki-style udon noodles. Monzo’s kitchen staff are sent to the city to receive an authentic education in how to prepare the dish.
WG Constructors, who also built Hobak Korean BBQ, Yui Edomae Sushi and Mon's most recent concept Ramen Kobo, will follow a similar dark wood design to the original, plus their glass-walled kitchen with views of the hand-pulled noodles being chopped by a machine resembling a paper cutter.
Frequently creating a long line of eager customers stretched out onto the sidewalk, Marugame Monzo's dishes recommended by Jonathan Gold include "fried chicken skin, grilled chicken with ginger sauce, scallop carpaccio, kake udon, zaru udon, plum shiso bukkake udon and cod roe butter squid udon."
A timetable for completion of the project has not yet been revealed, but permits are in place.