Tuesday definitely wasn’t ramen weather–it was humid and in the nineties, but that didn’t stop us from visiting our favorite lunch spot out by Mitsuwa, Ramen Misoya. Misoya is a Japanese chain that is fairly new–only a year old–to Chicagoland. We’ve eaten there a few times and although I’m not always the biggest ramen eater, I absolutely love this place. The funny thing is, Misoya took over the space of one of our old favorites, Tori Shin, a Japanese izakaya that was run by the husband of a woman I used to work with. The place looks almost the same as it did in the old days, but instead of a sushi counter, there is a tiny kitchen with boiling pots of noodles and delicious broth. The restaurant is pretty small and rumor has it that there is sometimes a line to get inside, especially for weekend dinners.
If you are looking for sushi, teriyaki chicken or green tea ice cream, this is not the place. There are very little offerings outside of ramen, but that’s a good thing because the chefs are working on making bowl after bowl of tasty ramen. They have it perfected.
The ramen noodles, handmade at the California location, are firm and thick and they hold up well in the broth. Misoya offers three options of broth for their ramen and then loads of options of meats and vegetables to have with the noodles. The three broth options are pork based broths with different types of miso mixed in. They are described by the regions of their origins:
The Kyoto-style is made with shiro miso and is light and fruity.
The Nagoya-style is made with mame miso, which is aged and is dark and slightly bitter.
And, my favorite, the Hokkaido-style is made with kome miso and it is full bodied and oh so delicious. I order the Hokkaido-style Kome Miso Cha-shu (pictured above). In the bowl, swimming with the noodles are marinated bamboo chutes, fried potatoes, scallions, corn, bean sprouts, sweet ground pork and to top it all off, three slabs of marinated grilled pork. I am not a big pork eater, but I have to say, this stuff is amazing. The charred flavor really adds a fantastic smoky taste to the ramen. Next time I’m going to get the same thing, but add a soft boiled egg just to be adventurous. Naoto always tries something new. This time he got a special tonkotsu (pork bone marrow) ramen with clams. It included a lot of the same toppings as my bowl, but his had a soft boiled egg, fish cake and nori (seaweed) as well. He loved it.
Ramen is super salty, so thankfully the staff is attentive to the water glasses. Oh, and just like izakaya in Japan, the entire Misoya staff stops to greet you when you arrive and to thank you when you leave…I love this place!
Misoya is located in a tiny strip mall at 1584 S Busse Road (Busse and Dempster) in Mt. Prospect. It’s only a little over a mile from Mitsuwa, making it the perfect dinner spot after you shop!