I’ve been waiting to do a blog on ramen, which admittedly is one of my favorite things to eat. Rain or shine…I love ramen! Last week, I ate at Furious Spoon, a new Wicker Park restaurant from Chef Shin Thompson that offers Japanese ramen soup furiously fast. The restaurant atmosphere is low key with shared counter seats and a wood lined theme. Like the décor, the food is simple and the menu is concise.
I’m also glad I got to visit on a Friday evening, to see the restaurant operating in full swing. It was packed, but they still managed to seat us in a somewhat quieter section of the restaurant.
Indeed we started our tasting with their ramen. In the absence of a seafood ramen, my backup was their vegetarian one, which was a welcome break from all the seafood I’ve been eating lately. The noodles were handmade and soaking in a light vegetable broth. And although it came with your typical toppings of Napa cabbage, bean sprouts and mushrooms, it tasted better than most ramen I’ve had. I learned that the broth was laced with a miso tare and it all made more sense. The basic function of tare is to add saltiness; the miso tare was a clever pick because it added a spicy sweetness and umami to the consommé, giving it its unique flavor. It became apparent to me how a good broth can make a ramen truly outstanding. The ramen was served with a Fury sauce, which was a spicy apple chili sauce that creatively enhanced the already present spices. In no time, my sinuses were flowing but that wasn’t going to keep me from the bowl of noodles in front of me.
The Takoyaki, which was brought out next, was my favorite part of the meal - a small plate of four octopus dumplings. The waitress said we would need at least two orders of these dumplings but she certainly underestimated how much we would love this dish. The outside coating was a wheat-based crepe that wrapped tender pieces of oyster, which were lightly fried. They were dressed with tiny dots of Kewpie (Japanese mayonnaise) on top and were drizzled with a very delicious fruit-based Tonkatsu sauce. The creamy texture of the filling and the mild crispiness of the pan-fried dough blended seamlessly, and left me thinking about this dish for days.
The warm sake also did its part in making this meal experience very satisfying. If you didn’t know this, Furious Spoon has a nice selection of four sakes and few Japanese beers and sodas.
Chef Thompson and his fellow creators’ vision of launching this casual, quick-service ramen restaurant to bring a little piece of Tokyo to our city, comes live with Furious Spoon. It’s more than just another addition to the city’s emerging ramen scene. And for those of you already sold, get excited for their Logan Square location opening early next year!
Neighborhood: Wicker Park
Address: 1571 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago, IL 60622
Phone: (773) 687-8445
Hours: Sun - Thurs – 11:00AM – 1:00AM, Fri-Sat – 11:00AM – 2:00AM
Price: $1.75- $12.25