Lisa Shames 2014-07-26 07:21:33
TREND ALERT SUPER BOWLS IF YOUR KNOWLEDGE OF RAMEN BEGINS AND ENDS WITH THE INSTANT VARIETY, THEN A VISIT TO THESE THREE NEW SPOTS IS IN ORDER. STRINGS RAMEN SHOP 2141 S. Archer Ave., 312.374.3450 THE STORY This cute BYOB Chinatown spot takes its ramen very seriously—there’s a reason it has sold more than 40,000 bowls since opening in February—and that includes the noodles, which are made in-house using an imported Japanese mixer and noodle maker. WHAT TO ORDER Tonkotsu ramen ($13) with a rich and earthy broth, crunchy fermented bamboo shoots, fragrant black garlic oil and two thick slices of kurobuta pork INSIDER TIP Got a late-night ramen craving? Strings is open until midnight during the week and until 2AM on Friday and Saturday. RAMEN-SAN 59 W. Hubbard St., 312.377.9950 THE STORY The team behind this newcomer, including the Melman siblings (R.J., Jerrod and Molly) and chef Doug Psaltis, did plenty of ramen research in Tokyo. But rather than just follow tradition, they’ve included unique twists too—Bub City smoked brisket, anyone? WHAT TO ORDER The subtle sesame miso ($14) with a soft-boiled egg, corn and spice-rubbed Berkshire pork belly. INSIDER TIP With mixology master Paul McGee (Three Dots and a Dash, Bub City, RPM Italian) behind the cocktails, ordering one is a must. We like the refreshing Singapore Sling. HIGH FIVE RAMEN 112 N. Green St., 312.754.0431 THE STORY Meticulous attention to detail is a trademark of all of Brendan Sodikoff’s restaurants (Au Cheval, Cocello, Bavette’s, etc.), and that goes for this ramen-only 16-seater underneath Green Street Smoked Meats. WHAT TO ORDER While heat-seekers will go ga-ga for the High Five ramen spiked with tongue-numbing Sichuan peppercorns, we prefer the more subtle nuances of the shoyu ($12). INSIDER TIP Arrive at 6PM when the doors open or after 10PM, unless waiting on a narrow staircase is your kind of thing. HOT PLATE Season’s Greetings Last summer, when Gemini Bistro customers would ask for strawberries and whipped cream for dessert, Pastry Chef John Larson satisfied their off-the-menu craving with frequent trips to the market across the street from the Lincoln Park restaurant. This year, he beat them to the punch by putting a creative riff on the classic seasonal pairing on the menu. $10, 2075 N. Lincoln Ave., 773.525.2522 To add texture, Larson tapped into his childhood memories of angel food cake topped with strawberries. Creating the clever sweet cake croutons was a little trickier. “It was definitely work to figure out how to achieve just the right crunch,” he says. Larson’s got nothing against whipped cream, mind you, but for this dish he opts, instead, for vanilla panna cotta. “When strawberries came into season this year, I thought, well, I’ll just give diners what they want,” he says. “But I’ll upscale it a bit.” Strawberries are sliced thin on a mandolin before orange segments—for brightness and acidity, says Larson—and a chiffonade of fresh mint are added. A tablespoon of simple syrup serves to “dress” the fruit salad. When strawberries go out of season, he plans to use peaches.
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