We had been walking past the spray painted storefront of Ramen-san in Chicago for a while so we were extremely excited to find out that it was finally opening night!!! When we stepped into the upbeat restaurant with a row of maneki-neko above the bar beckoning luck and fortune, we were ready to eat! And as a bonus, all the ramen was 50% off!
Although it took a while for our ramen to actually arrive, we were thoroughly impressed when the piping hot bowls were placed in front of us. I was a bit iffy when I saw that there was fried chicken in the ramen – wouldn’t it get all soggy? Well, they certainly showed me – the freshly fried chicken had a crispy skin while the meat itself was tender and infused with that slightly spicy kimchi flavor.
I enjoyed my sumo bowl of Berkshire pork belly and 18-hour smoked brisket from nearby Bub City even more! The broth was flavorful and didn’t have a thick layer of oil that you find at a lot of ramen places. But the ingredient that really made both bowls of ramen were the soft noodles that soak up all the bold flavors from the broth. These noodles are Tokyo wavy noodles that are initially produced by Sun Noodle, an artisan noodle maker in New Jersey, and Ramen-san follows their specifications to cook it perfectly.
Guess I got too excited about the ramen because we also got an appetizer. We ordered the uni and cucumber, which was very refreshing, especially with the super hot weather we’ve been getting in Chicago. The sweet and sour sauce covering the crunchy cucumber was superb and really complemented the fishy flavors of the uni.
And to end your meal on a high note, I suggest anyone who goes to Ramen-san to get the black sesame ice cream.
- Make a reservation – opening night was super busy, especially after 5:30 pm!
- No matter how full you are, get the black sesame ice cream!
- For those of you who crave ramen as drunk food (I definitely do…), this is the perfect place since it’s open till 1 am on all days except Saturdays, when they are open till 2 am!
I would have given Ramen-san a 5, but the service was pretty slow – even paying for the meal was slow. But I think that was a result of being so popular on their first night (there was even a line!).