After a disappointing ramen experience at Urban Belly, I've been on the lookout for some good ramen in Chicago. I hear that there is a Santouka in the burbs, but for a girl without a car, that won't fly, so I needed something nearby.
I read about Takashi, which is owned by Takashi Yagihashi. His restaurant, according to the website, is known for contemporary French-American cuisine with Japanese influences. They offer ramen for lunch only on Sundays.
My friends and I were finally able to get together to try Takashi's ramen a few Sundays ago. We started out with some appetizers. We ordered the Harumaki, which was described as "Gulf Shrimp, Aromatic Vegetable, Sanshõ Salt and Garlic Aioli." It ended up being fried shrimp rolls. They were good, but not all that exciting.
We also got the Duck Fat Fried Chicken. It also came with the same spicy aioli as the shrimp rolls. I was hoping for more flavor from the duck, but it tasted like Asian marinated chicken wings to me. When it comes to Asian marinated chicken wings, nothing beats Great Seas or Kyochon Chicken. If I've never had either of those before, I would have been raving about these, but since I have been tainted, these were slightly disappointing.
My friend, Caroline, got the Shoyu Ramen and Yeena and I got the Miso Ramen. I think we all agreed that the Shoyu Ramen was better. The Shoyu Ramen is the classic tokyo style ramen with braised pork, barbeque egg and marinated bamboo shoots. Our Miso Ramen was a Hokkaido style ramen with braised pork, bean sprouts, sweet corn and wakame (type of seaweed). This ramen definitely had more spice and had a richer broth than the shoyu. The noodles were perfectly cooked in both. Here's a picture of the miso ramen.
We were in luck because we were seated on the first floor and had a good view of the kitchen and Chef Yagihashi himself. We asked the waitress if they still makes the noodles in house. They said that they recently found a new vendor that the Chef approves of so now they outsource it. He apparently mailed the noodles to his mother in Japan to taste and she gave it the seal of approval.
The restaurant is in a cute little converted house along Damen Avenue. It used to be Stephanie Izard's Scylla restaurant. She apparently closed down the restaurant and signed the building over to Chef Yagihashi to go on Top Chef (season 4), which she eventually won. She's scheduled to open a new restaurant in the fall called the Girl and the Goat. I can't wait to try it out.
In the meantime, I will be coming here should I be craving any ramen. The decor of the restaurant to the food is very understated yet refined. Yeena has been here for dinner once and said it was outstanding.
BTW, he also has a book out called Takashi's Noodles. I tried the front cover recipe for Natto Soba awhile back, you can also find the recipe here. It was really good and so simple to make at home. Darn it, with the weather being so hot, now I am craving some soba!
1962 N Damen
(between Homer St & Armitage Ave)
Chicago, IL 60647