My First Impression of Katsu Ramen and Ramen in Colorado

Sampuru (sample), pinku (pink), orenji jusu (orange juice), aisu kurimu (ice cream), makudonarudo (McDonalds).

Just a couple of examples of katakana which is the Japanese pronunciation of foreign, or in this case English words like “sampuru”.

The plastic food models called “sampuru” are very common in Japan, and they were used since the 1920’s, back before polaroid (1948 if you wanted to know), digital imagery, and Instagram

Sampuru is what they call the plastic displays seen out front of Katsu Ramen, and they are probably one of the few places in Colorado that I have been to that are using sampuru (“sample”) plastic displays. For that reason, including their nicely done interior, expansive menu, cool bowls, and overall effort, I’d say they deserve at least a 4 out of 5. Although for the food/service, I’d knock them down to a 3.5.

Better than Menya

That’s not that bad of an effort compared to Menya Ramen in downtown Denver. Although as for how this place and Menya stack up against the rest of the ramen-ya’s in Colorado, you’ll have to wait to find out. I was ramen’d out with the mediocre spots I had been too, and the remaining options didn’t seem any better. The Yelp search produced: Sera’s Ramen Enclave (just from the name and pictures on yelp, pass), Tycoon Ramen (pass), Uncle (yea, definitely a pass), Osaka Ramen (they’re not instilling any confidence with a 3.5), Sakura House (this has got to be “homestyle” ramen), and Izakaya Den (pass) to name a few. Am I wrong, or is there a must try spot for good ramen in Colorado?

I’ve noticed in areas where there’s not a lot of Asians, they tend to throw in bok choy or shiitake mushrooms.

Can’t just do Japanese food

Being in Colorado, I don’t think I could pass up another chance of eating the grilled oysters at Angelos (especially during happy hour), or the spot-on scallop preparation at Jax, to my favorite Chicano spot, the Original Chubbies. At this point, anything but ramen just might be in order over another Colorado ramen-ya.

This interior is done right all the way down to the condiments containers.

My lunch posse

Question: Being back in Colorado (my hometown), I got to hang out with my cool aunt who took me out to the driving range to hit a bucket of balls. That just so happened to be in the late morning, so my stomach was already growling from hunger. Luckily Katsu Ramen is very near by to Kennedy Golf course, so I had suggested we hit that place up. My aunt has already been several times, and she came armed with coupons. I bring this up because when she went to the bathroom to wash up, I paid the bill in advance otherwise she would insist on paying as she always does. Is this an Asian thing, a Japanese thing, or a “hey that’s only your family doing sort of thing?”

Want to know more

  • If you’re in Colorado, you can’t help but check out what the Westword has got to say.
  • Want to learn more about sampuru, go here (

Katsu Ramen

1930 S. Havana St. #4 Aurora, CO 80014
(303) 751-2222
Yelp | Facebook



    1. I always used to see this happen amongst my family, and when I went out with friends, I didn’t necessarily see their family up’n’arms on who was going to pay. Good to know that the Irish fight to pay too!