Gil Asakawa's Nikkei View | restaurants
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Miso Chashu Ramen at Sushi Spot in Boulder I was severely depressed a month ago, when I sauntered up University Hill from the University of Colorado campus for my semi-regular fix of ramen from Bento Zanmai, the fast foodish takeout counter aimed at the student population in a funky food court alongside a pizza joint and Thai, Middle Eastern and Nepalese counters, and found the ramen spot was closed. I was too upset to call Sushi Zanmai, the parent restaurant that also owns Amu, the super-fine izakaya. But today, as I pondered lunch options I decided to find out whaddup with the demise of Bento Zanmai. It's been closed, yes, I know, but what? Its entire menu is now being served just around the corner on the Hill at Sushi Spot, a slightly more upscale sushi restaurant that the Zanmai folks also own? Cool! I should say upfront that although I love sushi, I'm not big fan of the crazy variety of special rolls that have been invented to entice and entertain Americans as sushi became mainstream in the past two decades. To me, even a California Roll (which I know is these days commonplace in Japan) is a mutant invention. I mean really, rice on the outside? Avocado? Come on....

Sometimes, you just gotta have comfort food -- you know, meat loaf, mac and cheese, a nice chicken fried steak. Real mashed potatoes, not the just-add-water kind. And when it comes to comfort food, you can't beat a great diner. So I welcomed my lunch date today at the Rocky Mountain Diner, even though it's a bit on the high-end side of diner cuisine.