Hours: Lunch, dinner: seven days
Local franchise of a Japanese chain, serving some of the area's very best ramen.
The third U.S. outpost of a rapidly expanding Japanese chain, Misoya is the Chicago region's first dedicated ramen-ya. When you step through the doors the chefs behind the bar will raise their heads from their tasks and welcome you with a spirited "Irasshaimase!" And when you sit among the overwhelmingly Japanese clientele and open your menu, you won't be asked to consider anything that might distract from the chefs' single-minded pursuit of gorgeously constructed bowls of ramen. Misoya concentrates on three regional varieties of miso-based ramen, all built on house-made pork stock, then customized with an array of toppings, from the standard ground pork, bean sprouts, green onions, bamboo shoots, and corn to sheets of seaweed, pats of butter, and nuggets of fried chicken. No matter what you add, the noodles, shipped in from California, dominate the bowl, thicker and chewier than most, and not at all soft. For a maiden voyage I recommend ordering them with the cha shu, pork loin, which at Misoya is atypically not just braised but marinated in miso and then grilled, adding a slight smokiness to the broth. You'll also want a miso-marinated hanjuku egg in your ramen, parboiled and split to reveal a luscious, warm, molten yolk. Finally, you'll want to accompany your ramen with a tall glass of draft Sapporo, the only alcohol available and, frankly, the only one that makes sense. Read the full review >>
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