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It’s still f*cking cold outside, which means we are still eating ramen. There are a lot of good ramen spots out there right now, and we’ve been working on checking them all out. Ramen-san has been a recent conquest on multiple occasions, and there’s no reason it shouldn’t be in your ramen roto too.

We’ll get it out of the way and say that, strictly from a food standpoint, Ramen-san isn’t our favorite bowl of broth and noodles to slurp. This isn’t to say we don’t like it, because we do. The broths are overall solid, even if they don’t blow us away. On more than one occasion we have thought things have ranged from too plain to too salty, and that left us feeling like there was some room for improvement. Another slight negative is that you’re not getting out of here for less than $20 if you want a complete bowl. We’ll at least give Ramen-san a free pass on the price points, because our guess is with the prime River North real estate it’s tough to charge anything less.

We don’t want to focus on the negative though, because at the end of the day the food is good. What we do want to focus on is how f*king awesome the restaurant and vibe itself are. Ramen-san has become one of our new favorite places to dine-in at for a quick and quality River North bite, particularly when we are in a weekday Dining Solo mood. Quick and quality don’t really go hand-in-hand with the general Rio Norte lifestyle unless it’s health food, so we are glad the Lettuce team ventured into the ramen game.

Fifteen year old me would have gone absolutely nuts over the hip hop soundtrack Ramen-san is bumping on a continuous basis. That’s not to say fifteen year old me would have really understood why the music was so great, but I would have at least been onto something. Mid (late?) twenties me knows that the soundtrack is still great, and nothing will put you in a better mood than some old-school Nas, Jay Z, and Wu Tang tracks. Post up by yourself with a warm bowl of ramen at any of the counter seats, or come with a small group and add on some spicy Szechuan wings and a round of cold Asahi beer on tap.

It’s still f*cking cold outside - eat ramen.

Food Rundown

Spicy Szechuan Chicken Wings

Great wings, plain and simple. A little bit of heat, good crisp, and a really nice Szechuan style sauce.

Pork Belly Mantou Buns

A decent pork bun, although we don’t love the mayo sauce that comes on it. We’d forgo the sauce next time around.

Shio Ramen

A chicken broth base with some molten egg, tofu, and nori. We like to add some soy sauce chicken and kimchi to the mix, which both we and Ramne-san recognize is not very Japanese. Add a generous amount of dashi flakes at your disposal for a little extra flavor and heat.

Tonkotsu Ramen

Rich pork flavor with chasu pork and molten egg. We like to add kimchi and buttered corn here too.

Sumo Bowl

The sumo bowl comes complete with a lot of meat, pork and brisket. It’s a giant $18 bowl of ramen that’s definitely a unique twist and a hearty meal.

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