From the moment you step inside the feng shui-designed interior, you know that your dining experience at Aja Noodle Co. is going to be something out of the ordinary. With great food, cheap prices and a hip atmosphere, Aja is well worth checking out.

Aja’s interior is sparse, the high-ceilinged room dominated by two large pots of bamboo stalks that rise to the ceiling. The seating is either at tables with modern metal chairs or at round cushioned booths that line the walls.

The kitchen is open along the far wall, which adds an air of activity and liveliness to the restaurant. The place is often quite bustling, and while the waitstaff is friendly, they sometimes seem a little rushed.

Aja’s menu, as the name implies, centers on noodle-based dishes, and every dish is under $8. As a wonderful added bonus, their noodle, rice and soup bowls are a mere $5 Sunday through Wednesday when you present your UR ID.

With offerings like Japanese miso ramen soup, Vietnamese vermicelli and Szechwan stir fry, the menu is a smattering of dishes from a variety of Asian cuisines. This variety ensures that the restaurant has something to satisfy almost anyone.

As an appetizer, the chicken Chinese dumplings were good, but a little bland without the dipping sauce. The Thai spicy basil noodle bowl was a little spicier than expected, but the chicken was perfectly cooked, and the meal was a steal at only $7.

Trying dishes like the Japanese miso ramen soup and edamame, which are steamed soy beans sprinkled with Kosher salt, may require a little bravery from some restaurant goers, but the restaurant also has more traditional offerings to satisfy the less daring. The menu includes standard fare like wok-fried rice and Chinese chicken soup. The truly unadventurous can resort to ordering the macaroni and cheese from the kid’s menu for $3.

Every meal but the appetizers come in a bowl ? Aja offers salad bowls, soup bowls, rice bowls and noodle bowls. If there are any big, burly men out there who are rolling their eyes at the prospect of eating only a bowl of rice for dinner, you are under the wrong impression of what you’re in for.

Once you’re faced with a huge, steaming bowl of meat and vegetables you will quickly change your mind. The servings are huge, and you get more than your money’s worth.

Considering everything the place has to offer, the Aja Noodle Co. is well worth a visit ? and your $8.

DeSantis can be reached at kdesantis@campustimes.org.



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