Naoto and I are back in a ramen groove again…which is perfect timing since we are still in the dead of winter around here. Last weekend, we tried Ramen-san in the River North neighborhood of Chicago. I wish I’d taken more pictures of the entire restaurant. It’s rustic-modern with beautiful exposed brick walls, semi-communal tables and bench seating. It was just the right amount of noisy and while we were there (early dinner on Saturday night), they turned down the lights and showed the Bulls game on the brick walls. We started with cocktails. Naoto got an Asahi (He loves finding Japanese beers on tap!) and I got a Singapore Sling. Can you believe I’ve never had a Singapore Sling before? It was so good–gin, pineapple, Cherry Heering, Benedictine and lime, all beautifully topped with a slice of pineapple and decadent Luxardo cherries. We ordered the shrimp & pork wontons, which were a little spicy and really tasty. It was a nice warm-up for our big bowls of ramen. I have to say that the ramen presentation at Ramen-san was pretty lackluster. It kind of looked like my ramen was just thrown in the bowl, which was a bit surprising considering this was the priciest ramen we’ve had and the restaurant itself was very polished. In spite of it all, the ramen was very tasty. I got the tonkotsu ramen, which is pretty traditional with its pork broth, chashu pork slices and soft cooked egg. The broth was really tasty and the noodles were cooked perfectly.Naoto had the Kimchi & Fried Chicken Ramen. He really liked this spicy and unusual take on traditional ramen. He said it had just the right amount of heat to warm him up and he loved that the fried chicken was still crispy, even in the broth! Because we were taking the L, we got drinks for dessert. Naoto got another beer and I tried the Cilantro-Lime Margarita. It was rich and delicious with its special addition of yuzu (my favorite Japanese citrus) and spicy lime salt.
Ramen-san is the latest in our Ramen Adventures. Here are the links to our previous journeys: