Kaiju: Ramen. Barbecue. Monsters.

A sampling of what’s available at Amherst’s new ramen-and-barbecue-focused restaurant.Photo: Courtesy of Kaiju

When most people hear the word “ramen,” bright red and orange packages stacked in supermarket aisles appear in their mind.

However, a new and authentic ramen restaurant recently opened up that takes those noodles to a whole other level.

Named Kaiju, after a Japanese film genre about monsters, it is located at 30 Boltwood Walk in Amherst.

Located directly across from the Black Sheep, a black awning informs you of its location, hidden under Johnny’s Tavern.

Kaiju is owned by a local couple, who also own The Quarters in Hadley, a popular lunch and dinner restaurant, with a collection of vintage arcade games and an outdoor patio area.

Similarly to The Quarters, Kaiju has a large number of collectibles from old CD players to vintage shot glasses.

The menu is small, but filled with plenty of variety for those who have special dietary preferences.

For snacks, one could enjoy spiced nuts, kim chi duo, szechuan chicharrons, yuzu hummus, cucumber salad, fried meatball skewers, and mapo-utine (gourmet french fries with pork or vegan meatballs) or takoyaki poutine (the same, topped with pork or octopus).

All items on the appetizer menu cost under $8.

For the main course, most opt for ramen, as that is what they are known for.

Flavors include  their Tan Tan ramen, a spicy sesame broth with crispy pork, Kimchi Mazemen, a “brothless” ramen with pork belly, and Kaiju ramen, which is the more traditional pork or chicken broth.

Vegans get their very own bowl, with a mushroom-based broth, topped with tofu.

With all bowls costing $14, there is really something for everyone.

If you weren’t in the mood for ramen, their BBQ menu is always an option, featuring fried chicken, burnt ends, szechuan brisket, ribs and vegan meatloaf.

On that menu, prices range from $6.50 for a small plate to $14 for a large plate.

There are many drink options available, with a large array of cocktails, beers, and wines for adults and teas and sodas for others.

Kaiju is currently one of the top recommended restaurants in Amherst, with a total of three and half stars on Yelp.

Jackie O., a Yelp reviewer from Howard Beach, New York, recommended the vegan ramen.

He raved about how it “had a great broth.”

“Usually vegan broth is boring, but this one was flavorful and the consistency was different.”

Another reviewer, Russell W, from Boston, Massachusetts, even made up a word describing how much he loved Kaiju.

“Kaiju may not have a lot on the menu, but what is there is magfabucent (magnificent, fabulous, excellent).”

Kaiju has only been open for four months, but it already seems to be a staple of Amherst.

For those who want to visit, Kaiju is open from 5pm-midnight everyday except Mondays, when it is closed. It even turns into a dance club in the later hours.