Once relegated to cheap dorm food, ramen has certainly gotten its due. Denver diners are never far from a new spot slinging steaming bowls of chewy noodles and rich broth. The latest addition to the scene is Sera’s Ramen Enclave, which opened in the former Bang! space on 32nd Avenue less than two weeks ago.
But this place has little in common with the other ramen houses in town. A quick scan of the menu reveals the wide breadth of influences: Alongside the miso ramen you’ll find a Saigon curry version and an oxtail and leek iteration; appetizers include Vietnamese rice crackers and crispy crêpes.
Owner Sera Nguyen was born in Vietnam, where she grew up in her mother’s restaurant kitchen. When her family moved to the United States in 1994, Nguyen’s mother hoped to reopen the restaurant, but it never came to fruition. Nguyen went on to study marketing and molecular biology, but, eventually found herself drawn back to the restaurant industry. You could say that the opening of Sera’s Ramen Enclave is the realization of the family dream.
Why a ramen restaurant? “I traveled extensively through Asia, and after a while I realized that ramen represented a diverse blast of flavors from all over the continent. We decided to call it an enclave because this is a tiny spot where you can find all of the influences of Asia’s broths and noodles and garnishes in one place,” Nguyen says.
That said, don’t go expecting traditional flavors. The broth in the miso ramen, for example, is more fishy than salty (thanks to the addition of dashi and fish sauce). The crêpes are Nguyen’s mothers’ recipe, but updated with a dash of Indian curry powder. And the fantastic, al-dente chilled ramen gets heat and flavor from a lashing of fiery red Korean chile paste.
Whatever you do, don’t skip the beverage menu. Quenchers like the calamansi fizz (flavored with Asian citrus) and the sugarcane juice (fresh squeezed on-site) are inspired by Nguyen’s travels across Asia. On a recent visit, our server even joked that the eatery might set up a stand out front to sell the fresh sugarcane juice—not a bad idea, if you ask us.
3472 W. 32nd Ave., 720-646-1114