The resurgence of ramen has taken the country by storm and Chicago is no exception. Recently, I gushed over two particular ramen shops on each side of the Chicago River, Furious Spoon (north side) and Strings Ramen (south side). Today, I wanted to find a place closer to the Loop which could satisfy my craving. So, I headed over to Slurping Turtle in the bustling River North neighborhood.
Slurping Turtle is located just 2 blocks south and 2 1/2 blocks
west of the Grand ‘L’ stop, along the CTA Red Line. The #22 Clark bus also stops close by.
Slurping Turtle is the 4 year old restaurant endeavor from James Beard winner, Chef Takashi Yagihashi. This place specializes in Japanese comfort food with a modern twist. It has been more than a year since I had a meal here but now it was time to check out their ramen. Here’s how my lunch went down:
I started off with a lovely dish of super crispy brussel sprouts which were, without a doubt, the best I’ve had in Chicago, to date. Since I wanted to make them last, I had half of the order wrapped up “to-go.” 🙂
After perusing the menu for the various ramen choices, I decided to have a meat-free day. I ordered the shoyu tofu mushroom ramen. It was made with rice noodles, veggie broth, soft tofu, a Japanese mushroom medley, asparagus, eggplant, kabocha squash, edamame and chili oil. I added bean sprouts and some chili flakes to make it extra spicy.
This ramen hit the table super duper hot, as should always be the case 🙂 This was the best execution of veggies in a soup, ramen or otherwise, I’ve had in a really long time. That said, the tofu was too soft for my taste. I realize that animal-based broths naturally have more flavor but this particular broth needed a few more layers of flavor.
How were the noodles? There was a really generous portion of them in this shallow “wading pool” of a bowl. While they were very good, I prefer a heartier, thicker ramen noodle. Still, I would come back for this veggie ramen at Slurping Turtle, simply because of the execution of the vegetables and the lovely service.
If you are wondering about the name of this place, the turtle is a symbol of longevity in Japanese culture. I feel better already!
Slurping Turtle is located at 116 W. Hubbard St. They are open every day for lunch and dinner.
In keeping with the spirit of Feeding Off The Rails, I encourage you to leave your car at home and take the CTA Red Line or #22 Clark bus to Slurping Turtle. Save on gas. Avoid traffic, road rage and parking. Reduce pollution. Don’t drink and drive!