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  • Menya Goku

    Post #1 - February 22nd, 2020, 12:05 am
    Post #1 - February 22nd, 2020, 12:05 am Post #1 - February 22nd, 2020, 12:05 am
    Menya Goku has gotten a few glowing mentions over in the Chicago Ramen thread. But this place is way too good to be buried in a catch-all ramen discussion. In fact, my bowl was probably my favorite bowl I've had within city limits.

    Menya Goku full bowl ramen.jpg

    The restaurant opened in early January and it should be no surprise that the first person to mention it here was Da Beef. I had the same bowl he did so I might as well quote him:
    Da Beef wrote:[Menya Goku is] located on Montrose across the street from Welles Park two doors down from the venerable Taqueria El Asadero. They're an evening only operation and the space is pretty small which makes it feel like a real Ramenya. Goku is owned by the Ramen Wasabi team which also runs Ramen Takeya in Fulton Market. Good for them for not opening a bunch of Wasabi's. We needed a spot like Goku badly. They specialize in Tantanmen aka Spicy Ramen. Basically Japan's take on Dan Dan noodles. It's great. I love the numbing Sichuan peppercorns and the pork based broth with a dash of sesame oil topped with ground pork and green onions. It all really works well together. Like many respected ramen shops across the country they're using Sun Noodles here which are comparable in quality to the noodles in Japan. They also make a stellar shoyu ramen.

    Menya Goku mixed up bowl ramen.jpg

    The only thing I'd add is to note how rich and silky smooth the broth is. Just a sensational bowl of soup.

    Menya Goku egg ramen.jpg Don't forget to add the egg

    There are three other ramens on the menu: the shoyu (chicken and dashi broth), the tonkotsu, and the vegan tonkotsu, which, per the menu "sells out quickly" Speaking of selling out, my server mentioned that the Tribune has already finished visiting for their review. So I'd expect the tiny restaurant to get slammed in the very near future. You might want to get there sooner than later.

    Menya Goku Chicken ramen.jpg

    There's a bunch of non-ramen items on the menu. I tried the Karaage Slider, a marinated perfectly fried chicken thigh with spicy mayo on a brioche bun. It was totally unnecessary given the richness of the ramen broth, but I regret nothing.

    kitchen ramen.jpg

    Menya Goku
    2207 W. Montrose
    (773) 942-6701
    Instagram
  • Post #2 - May 1st, 2020, 7:32 pm
    Post #2 - May 1st, 2020, 7:32 pm Post #2 - May 1st, 2020, 7:32 pm
    Menya Goku Modern Shoyu complete.jpg

    Menya Goku is open for carry-out during the quarantine and is still knocking it out of the park. I'm now convinced this is the best ramen spot within city limits and my need to trek out to Santouka has disappeared entirely.

    LTHers should be lining up for this place the day the quarantine is lifted and jamming phone lines until then. Here's Sula's piece in the Reader if you need a second, more trustworthy opinion.

    Tonight I had the modern shoyu, a light yet remarkably flavorful chicken and dashi broth that Sula reports includes four different kinds of fish. Throw in some crazy tender sous vide pork and chicken (the latter of which had some kind fruitiness to it that was really nice), ajitama, green onion, bamboo shoots, and Sun noodles, and you've got yourself a stellar bowl of soup.

    menya goku ingredients.jpg Ingredients packaged separately from broth for carry out
    meny agoku broth.jpg
  • Post #3 - May 4th, 2020, 8:14 am
    Post #3 - May 4th, 2020, 8:14 am Post #3 - May 4th, 2020, 8:14 am
    Echoing MCH, we had delightful take out from Menya Goku recently. They do an excellent job of presentation, even in take out and the ramen is very good. As a vegetarian, I appreciate the vegan option (though I add an egg and egg noodles). The broth is very rich and flavorful. Definitely a worthy take out spot in these times.
  • Post #4 - May 4th, 2020, 2:25 pm
    Post #4 - May 4th, 2020, 2:25 pm Post #4 - May 4th, 2020, 2:25 pm
    Really good to know. We were lucky to visit them for the first time literally right before everything was shutdown and it was amazing. Definitely doing take out this week.
  • Post #5 - August 3rd, 2021, 12:14 pm
    Post #5 - August 3rd, 2021, 12:14 pm Post #5 - August 3rd, 2021, 12:14 pm
    Menya Goku, a tantanmen from the owners of Wasabi and Ramen Takeya, is temporarily closed “until further notice”

    https://chicago.eater.com/2021/6/10/225 ... ummer-2021
    Never order barbecue in a place that also serves quiche - Lewis Grizzard
  • Post #6 - September 16th, 2022, 7:09 pm
    Post #6 - September 16th, 2022, 7:09 pm Post #6 - September 16th, 2022, 7:09 pm
    I finally stopped in tonight to give this place a try and mostly just wanted to give it a bump since the last comment noted it as being temporarily closed - it's definitely open and crushing it in the kitchen. We tried the Goku Tan Tan Men (adding an egg) and Goku Tonkotsu and the ramen lived up to the superlatives tossed around in previous comments and official reviews. Takoyaki starter was delicious as well.

    I wished there was a more lively vibe in the restaurant - both the room energy and the service were pretty subdued during our Friday night visit. Aside from bar seating, almost all the tables are two-tops and our seats (among a line of tiny wooden "booths" along the wall) were a little cramped and uncomfortable. That shouldn't stop anyone from going, it just might not be the best place to have an extended gathering with a group.
  • Post #7 - September 19th, 2022, 12:48 pm
    Post #7 - September 19th, 2022, 12:48 pm Post #7 - September 19th, 2022, 12:48 pm
    I still say their bowl of the Tan Tan Men is the absolute best ramen the city has to offer. One unfortunate note since re-opening, they no longer offer the vegan tonkotsu which my partner also thought was the best vegetarian ramen in the city. It has now been replaced by a vegan miso, which is less flavorful.

    Other than that, full support for this place, and I hope they don't have to close again..
  • Post #8 - September 25th, 2022, 7:58 pm
    Post #8 - September 25th, 2022, 7:58 pm Post #8 - September 25th, 2022, 7:58 pm
    We went to Menya Goku for the first time a couple weeks ago on Saturday, as someone told me they had reopened. The meal (Brussels sprouts, gyoza, and tonkotsu ramen) was stellar from top to bottom, but I was a little worried because it wasn't even half full on a Saturday evening at 6:30. But! This weekend we tried to go on Friday around 7, and it was packed, and people were waiting outside as well. Seems the word has gotten out.
    "If this sauce was a person, I'd get naked and make love to it." - Sophia Petrillo, The Golden Girls
  • Post #9 - September 27th, 2022, 8:42 pm
    Post #9 - September 27th, 2022, 8:42 pm Post #9 - September 27th, 2022, 8:42 pm
    I haven't been to Menya Goku since the eve of the pandemic and was very excited to see it had reopened.

    We got the karage, the tan tan men and the modern shoyu. The karage as fine, I much prefer other versions (particularly Tamashii Ramen), but the ramens are top notch. The tan tan is better than the one I had at a Michelin starred tan tan place in Tokyo, though I think my heart will always be with the original Chinese version (see JMC for an exemplary one). The modern shoyu takes me right back to Tokyo though as chicken shoyu was, at least when I was there, the trend. It blew away Monster Ramen's version as it had way more nuanced soy and dashi flavor with a great chicken backbone and tender chicken chashu. I still love spicy miso ramen, but the simple flavors of a good shoyu are hard to beat. If you are in Boston try Tsurumen Davis for a gelatinous and delicious version.

    Goku is a long way for us, but I see it as maybe the top bowl in the city and worth the trek occasionally.
  • Post #10 - September 29th, 2022, 10:44 pm
    Post #10 - September 29th, 2022, 10:44 pm Post #10 - September 29th, 2022, 10:44 pm
    Joined a friend for a very enjoyable meal here earlier this week. We started with a few small bites . . .

    Image
    Maitake Mushrooms - tempura, tentsuyu dashi
    Really enjoyed this take which was a bit darker and harder-shelled than traditional tempura. But that really worked. These were meaty, earthy and delicious, and the harder exterior was a nice foil for the naturally chewy maitakes.

    Image
    Takoyaki - octopus puffs, aonori, bonito, mayo, japanese bbq sauce
    Not a ton of perceptible octopus here but great flavor and a really nice combo of textures, with a light and crispy exterior and a tender, densely-spongy interior.

    Image
    Gyoza Dumpling - berkshire pork, veggie, soy vinegar sauce
    Very tasty, even the scorchy-torchy one on the left. Wrappers were crispy-tender and the filling was flavorful and unctuous.

    Image
    Karaage - house marinated cage-free fried chicken thigh, sriracha mayo
    Notably juicy chicken and so nicely seasoned, it was actually better without the sauce. Nice exterior crust, too.

    Finished up with the eponymous main event, Goku Spicy Miso Ramen . . .

    Image
    Goku Spicy Miso Ramen - pork broth, charsiu pork belly, ajitama egg, menma, bean sprouts, green onion (spicy)
    This was lovely. What I liked about it was that every component was full-flavored, they all worked in unison and the overall bowl wasn't an over-the-top salt bomb. Really nice flavors, textures, etc. After we finished our ramen, my friend joked that he was so full but could still eat another bowl. Obviously, he was joking (okay, maybe he doubled back after we parted ways) but I agreed with his point. This wasn't overwrought in the least. Just a beautiful bowl of harmonious, delicious ingredients.

    Was grateful this thread popped up recently and put Menya Goku back on my radar. In the haze of covid, it kind of fell off my short list (along with everything else). Will definitely be back, even though it took nearly an hour to get there from my office in Niles (left at 4:30, arrived at 5:25). At that hour, the small room was virtually empty. By the time we departed at just after 7, it was full with a few folks waiting for seats.

    =R=
    Same planet, different world
  • Post #11 - October 5th, 2022, 12:26 pm
    Post #11 - October 5th, 2022, 12:26 pm Post #11 - October 5th, 2022, 12:26 pm
    I really need to get here. But, I still have not got to Pudgy's Pizza in Hegewisch, and that must be next. :oops:
    I surmise I will get here when Hop Butcher for the World opens up the former Half Acre brewpub space on N. Lincoln Ave. :?
    Valuable links for survival, without the monetization attempt: https://pqrs-ltd.xyz/bookmark4.html

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