Shing Ya opened a few weeks ago in the old Babylon space, which was previously the Bella Vino wine bar. I sincerely hope Shing Ya can escape the fates of those restaurants because I had a great lunch yesterday and am looking forward to going back.
A longtime friend and I went over just after noon on Thursday and were met with a friendly and attentive waitress, but a completely empty restaurant.
There are booths and tables in the cramped but cozy space, with Asian artwork on the walls and lanterns and lights above the sushi bar.
We ordered green tea and it came quick and hot. Almost too hot, actually. The ceramic mugs were way too hot to touch, so we let it sit for a bit. If you’re a tea lover, try it here. It’s not just a bag dropped in hot water. It’s a powder that’s stirred in the hot water, resulting in a muddy-in-a-good-way tea that’s relatively strong when it comes to green tea. We had refills.
The first item on the menu is called Heart Attack. No other description given. Of course, we had to have it. Our waitress, Elizabeth, explained it’s a jalapeno pepper that’s seeded and filled with a layer of cream cheese and a healthy portion of raw, spicy tuna.The pepper is coated in a light tempura batter, fried, cut open and drizzled with two sauces. It makes for an impressive presentation.
After the completely satisfying Heart Attack appetizer, we ordered our entrees. When I have the option of any type of noodle soup, I usually take it. This time I saw the Japanese BBQ pork ramen soup. My buddy got the 3rd Street Roll. Both dishes came out pretty quickly, with the sushi roll a bit later, as is the case a lot of the time in any sushi restaurant. It just takes longer than other stuff.
My ramen was spot-on. The noodles were perfectly cooked, slightly chewy, the way they should be. I don’t know for sure, but they may have been made in-house. You can really tell the difference.
The BBQ pork was mild in flavor, but very tender and tasty. All the accoutrements of a good ramen were there. Sea weed pieces, boiled egg, green onions and tofu. The deep brown broth was also as it should be: piping hot.
We were both extremely pleased with our first experiences at Shing Ya. It’s an exciting and worthwhile addition to northern Valley dining. I highly recommend it.