Itsy Bitsy hopes to take big bite out of downtown dining scene

Itsy Bitsy hopes to take big bite out of downtown dining scene

Written by Lisa Valentine

Itsy Bitsy: Ramen and Whisky has spun its web in the spot formerly occupied by the short-lived Wild in The Ogden. The Asian-themed eatery (which has a cute little spider in its logo) offers its signature ramen bowls, rice bowls and sushi hand rolls in a slick setting anchored by cool artwork and two bar areas: the first for drinking and the second for enjoying your meal while watching the chefs at work in the open kitchen.

Judging from the selection of small plates and sake cocktails, Itsy Bitsy has all the makings of a popular after-work gathering spot. Among those cocktails is the Sake-To-Me, a refreshing mix of sake, lemongrass, cucumber and mint. Small plate selections include Japanese street corn, mushroom spring roll, robata skewers with beef, pork or chicken, and pork or veggie potstickers. Small plates range from $2.75 to around $6, and the potsticker orders include enough to share.

The main menu features sushi hand rolls (choices include Kurobuta sausage and spicy tuna) and create-your-own rice bowls and ramen bowls (which run about $10 to $12). The rice bowls feature white or brown rice, veggies (slivered onion, sprouts, carrot, cabbage) and meat choices such as teriyaki chicken and salmon.

Ramen bowls start with patrons picking their noodle (thick or thin) and then selecting a broth and toppings: green onion, braised pork, bean sprouts, soy egg, corn and spicy meat.

Other menu selections include Japanese Wakame seaweed salad, gyoza dumplings, garlic edamame and Shishito peppers. Desserts are green tea ice cream and mochi, a small Japanese chewy rice cake filled with ice cream.

According to The OgdenÕs website, Itsy Bitsy is the first downtown concept from restaurant stylist Martin Koleff (Aburiya Raku, Sweets Raku, Kyara Japanese Tapas) and Corner Bar Management Group, which is known for Commonwealth and Park on Fremont (Itsy BitsyÕs artwork is reminiscent of Commonwealth). It is backed by the Downtown Project.

Seating options inside are decent, although the layout of the space is long and narrow. The main entrance is just inside The Ogden on the Ogden Avenue side of the building, where youÕll also find some shaded outdoor seating for the restaurant. The music playlist is selected by Vegas-based DJ Five Ñ a member of the restaurantÕs concept team Ñ and provides a hip but not overpowering backdrop.

Itsy Bitsy is open from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. Friday, 4 p.m. to 1 a.m. Saturday and 4 to 11 p.m. Sunday.

Itsy Bitsy hopes to take big bite out of downtown dining scene