Tonkatsu Ramen at Slurping Turtle

Takashi Yagihashi’s profile has been given a boost over the last few weeks, thanks in part to his appearance on “Top Chef Masters.” One of the friendliest chefs in the business, he returned to Chicago several years ago (after stints at Tribute in Farmington Hills, MI and Okada at The Wynn Las Vegas) to open his namesake in Bucktown. Problem was, fine-dining – especially for a style of cuisine that could only be described as Asian with French technique – was on the wane. Enter Slurping Turtle in River North. Since his more casual ramen and yakitori spot opened last year, seats have been tough to find and demand for his ramen has exploded. So much so, that he dropped the popular Sunday ramen menu at Takashi, and now just focuses his efforts downtown (as well as at the Takashi Noodles kiosk on the 7th floor of Macy’s). One of my favorites is the tonkatsu ramen, which features hunks of pork in a silky, rich porky broth. The noodles are made for the restaurant elsewhere – to the chef’s specs – but they are nonetheless wonderfully chewy and taught. This is a dish you can eat anytime, but especially on an overcast, autumn afternoon in a sweater.

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