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  • Post #121 - February 15th, 2020, 4:27 pm
    Post #121 - February 15th, 2020, 4:27 pm Post #121 - February 15th, 2020, 4:27 pm
    Da Beef wrote:Menya Goku
    2207 W Montrose Ave
    Chicago, IL
    (224) 938-9982


    Thanks for the Menya Goku endorsement. I was following this opening because it's near me. We went last night for v-day after your's, and other's recommendations.

    My wife and I eat ramen pretty regularly, but we're far from experts or super knowledgeable. I'd say we've tried 6 other ramen places in Chicago.

    My bowl of Goku Tan Tan Men was the
    best bowl of ramen I've had in Chicago. Packed with flavor, and perfect heat level. Generally I prefer my noodles a little thicker, but these were still excellent. This is a great addition to the neighborhood.

    We also tried a couple of the "sliders". Mushroom (panko breaded shiitake, Japanese bbq, Sriracha Mayo, and mustard); and the Ebi Mayo (tempura shrimp, greens, Sriracha Mayo). Both were excellent and more substantial than I expected. If Menya Goku was open for lunch, I could easily see myself sidling up to the bar and having 2 or 3 of the sliders. They'd definitely make a nice stand alone meal (and at 4 bucks each, a decent value).

    Anyway, thanks again for the endorsement. We'll definitely be going back.
  • Post #122 - February 16th, 2020, 6:37 am
    Post #122 - February 16th, 2020, 6:37 am Post #122 - February 16th, 2020, 6:37 am
    Speaking of Chicago Ramen...

    Chicago Ramen
    578 E Oakton St
    Des Plaines, IL 60018

    Recently opened.
    Never order barbecue in a place that also serves quiche - Lewis Grizzard
  • Post #123 - February 18th, 2020, 5:30 pm
    Post #123 - February 18th, 2020, 5:30 pm Post #123 - February 18th, 2020, 5:30 pm
    Chicago's ramen scene is definitely odd. For such a food-focused city, we seem to have a problem with really making our mark on this dish. I'm not saying that as a bitter ramen cook, although i know the conflict of interest, more as a dude who sees the incredible prowess Chicago chefs bring to most dishes in the city and does not see that reflected in our ramen. Most of it is tonkotsu, often with mayu on top. A lot of it comes from pre-made soup bases. And a lot of it is available to-go. But there are some winners right now. And, funny enough, it's not because they make tonkotsu.

    Menya Goku

    Menya Goku opened last month, and they are a straight banger of a ramen shop. It's by the same group behind Wasabi, so their success is unsurprising, but the aesthetic of the store is more tightly controlled than their sister restaurant, very modern and bright by comparison. It's a small space, and they have maybe 4 bowls, plus some sides. The sides themselves are fine, not particularly noteworthy renditions of pseudo-Japanese dishes that you might find elsewhere in the city; brusselsporuts fried and covered in a sweet and tangy sauce, onigiri with plump rice and furikake, and ebi buns, always buns on these menus, holding crispy fried shrimp slathered in mayo. They ain't bad tho, an acceptable padding for your meal.

    But the ramen... slaps. Forreal. I've tried four bowls now. I am a gross person. The highlights are the tantanmen and the shoyu, and these are easy contenders for best in show in Chicago proper. All normal bowls use Ippudo noodles, thin, straight, wirey noodles with big presence despite their narrow widths that cut through the soup. The tantanmen is heavy on szechuan spice, with big lemony notes and floral aromas, all while still being warming and rich from the sesame and chili oil that makes up this style. It's a dedacent bowl but without being overbearing. The shoyu, on the other hand, is punchy but in a more delicate way, a double soup of dashi and clear chicken soup, seasoned with soy sauce. Thin slices of pink-cooked pork placed ever so gingerly on the bowl, it have new-wave tokyo shoyu vibes. And the umami in this thing is crazy, my mouth salivating 30 minutes after eating this thing. It's easily the best shoyu ramen in Chicago.

    So, yeah, this place rules. I hope it doesn't get completely mobbed out.

    High Five:

    I recently went to High Five ramen after a several month hiatus from the place. For a long time it was hands-down my favorite ramen shop in the city, with intense subterranean atmosphere, an incredibly tight menu, and a really solid, thought-provoking bowl of spicy tonkotsu.

    Over the last year or so, however, I feel like the bowls have been inconsistent, the temperature wildly out of wack, the spice levels varying considerably from visit to visit, the toppings messy, the flavor scorched and one dimensional one day and complex and vivid the other. And I only order the half spice high five!

    They were on point last Friday though. The soup was decadently rich, the plating was perfect, the chashu was tender and flavorful. It reminded me of what High Five was like when I first went back when they opened. If I had to nitpick, I thought the noodles were a little soft, and I find the lack of cook on the beansprouts a little odd, but the dish is cohesive while being unique enough to stand out from the tonkotsu madness that ravages Chicago. That uniqueness is hard to find.

    They had a 5 hour wait when I went though. That's bonkers.
  • Post #124 - February 18th, 2020, 7:29 pm
    Post #124 - February 18th, 2020, 7:29 pm Post #124 - February 18th, 2020, 7:29 pm
    Chitown B wrote:Chicago Ramen
    (in Des Plaines)

    Had their signature Tsukemen and also their Red Miso ramen.

    DELICIOUS. They just opened and are very small, and usually packed. Highly recommended.


    I hit up this place after an O'Hare run (diverted after discovering Pollo Vagabundo is closed on Tuesdays and quick thinking back to a recent IG post by Da Beef.)

    I had my almost-four-year-old in tow and we had an absolute blast sitting at the chef's counter (which is really the only seating.) He was enthralled watching the fireworks of chef at the wok station. The place was slammed but we were taken really good care of. Chef promptly brought the kiddo a bowl of unadorned noods (gratis at that.)

    The kid also inhaled 5/6 pieces of gyoza which I saw popped out of the freezer, but were crispy and well managed. And he's in a squeezing citrus on everything phase (please don't call my kid a world class ass though), so the customary lime squeeze on the tsukemen tickled him as well (he also loves nori, so this was all around a huge hit.)

    It was my first go at tsukemen and I really liked it. I've been turned off by the overly rich bowls of tonkotsu so popular around town in recent years, but this deconstructed format that treats the broth for what it is ~gravy~ works for me. The dipping broth was excellent, porky of course but a little smoky and fishy too. I was not offered the top off of light broth so I did not ingest the remaining 4 ounces or so of gravy, but I left feeling better off for it. The wider noods were great, perfectly sproingy. Chashu melted in the mouth.

    Overall just a really fun experience, especially shared with my son!
  • Post #125 - February 19th, 2020, 7:21 am
    Post #125 - February 19th, 2020, 7:21 am Post #125 - February 19th, 2020, 7:21 am
    This thread got interesting again already. I too am flummoxed by Chicago's obsession with tonkotsu. This style had mostly disappeared in Japan when I went last year (replaced by a lot of really delicious chicken shoyu) and was never my favorite to begin with.

    Looking forward to trying Menya Goku even if I have never had a memorable bowl of Japanese dan dan mian, even at Michelin-starred Nakiryu, because the Wasabi group are pretty reliable.

    I would also try another tsukemen, again another style that did not impress me in Japan, but Chicago Ramen is probably too far off the beaten path for me.
  • Post #126 - February 19th, 2020, 11:17 am
    Post #126 - February 19th, 2020, 11:17 am Post #126 - February 19th, 2020, 11:17 am
    I honestly think that the obsession with tonkotsu in Chicago (and wider America, generally) is because it sounds like the most impressive preparation on a menu. "Pork bones slow cooked for up to a day" or whatever sounds better than how you would describe an expertly prepared chicken/fish broth, and perception of labor intensity holds a lot of cachet here. It's the same reason we obsess over the cooking length of BBQ; it tastes better if we know someone took a lot of time to make it.
  • Post #127 - November 4th, 2021, 8:39 pm
    Post #127 - November 4th, 2021, 8:39 pm Post #127 - November 4th, 2021, 8:39 pm
    Chitown B wrote:Chicago Ramen
    (in Des Plaines)

    Had their signature Tsukemen and also their Red Miso ramen.

    DELICIOUS. They just opened and are very small, and usually packed. Highly recommended.

    Mrs Willie & I went for dinner at Chicago Ramen, arrived 5:10pm (they open at 5pm) and there were only two tables open, ourselves and another twosome occupied the tables and by 5:15, there was a wait.

    This was probably our 4th visit, I always get the Tsukemen and Mrs Willie the White Miso Ramen. We almost always share but I can't recall that we've ever shared here :-)

    Had a starter of Takoyaki which were terrific.

    Chicago Ramen
    578 E Oakton St
    Des Plaines, IL 60018
    https://www.facebook.com/chicagoramentky/
    -
    I did absolutely nothing and it was everything I thought it could be.
  • Post #128 - November 5th, 2021, 6:05 pm
    Post #128 - November 5th, 2021, 6:05 pm Post #128 - November 5th, 2021, 6:05 pm
    A new ramen place opened in Chinatown called Daifuku Ramen, in Chinatown Square:

    http://www.daifukuchicago.com
    2019 Chicago Food Business License Issuances Map: https://drive.google.com/open?id=1AGfUU ... sp=sharing

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