Sunday, April 12, 2015

Furious Spoon

When most people think of ramen, they think of the really cheap dried noodles that are covered with salt and they loved as kids or survived on in college.  When one goes to a ramen shop though, people are quick to discover that ramen is much more than those dried noodles.  There have been a number of ramen shops that have opened in Chicago in the last couple of years, due to the growing popularity of ramen.  I like authentic ramen and I like trying new things, so I went to one of the new ramen shops, Furious Spoon, for dinner recently.  Run by Shin Thompson of the former Bonsoiree and Kabocha, this is small, but simpler and more low key than his previous ventures.  I still had an expectation going in though, of some really good food.  The restaurant is pretty small with the order counter at the front of the open kitchen just to the right of the door.  The place will seat about 40 people between to communal tables and banquettes and a counter facing the kitchen.  The walls, tables, and chairs were all dark and heavy wood, and the space was relatively dark.  I walked in, looked over the short menu (5 ramens, toppings, 5 sides, and  drinks), ordered, was given a number and was directed to seat myself.  I sat at the inside of one of the communal tables, so I could get watch the flow of the restaurant.  The ramen that I ordered, Furious Ramen,  had almost everything offered in it.  I also ordered an order of pickles, which I have learned, is much more than just pickled cucumbers.  I like to order pickles when I see them on the menu because I like pickles and it is interesting to see what it is exactly that I am going to get.  This order of pickles consisted of Red Onions, Carrots, Celery, Mushrooms, Cucumbers, Potatoes, and a single Red Pepper.  The vegetables were crisp, with a good sweet and vinegary flavor.  The mushrooms were firm and had a good flavor, and the potatoes were good as well.  While I do like spicy food, I do not make a habit of eating whole hot peppers, whether pickled or not, so the pepper was left uneaten.
I was very surprised, when my ramen arrived, of the size of my bowl and spoon.  I was warned, when I ordered it, that it was pretty spicy.  I was not warned, however, how big it was going to be.  The bowl looked to be able to hold about a quart of ramen and the spoon that came with it was about the size of a cooking spoon.  The method that people seemed to use was to grab a spoonful of ramen, eat the noodles and meat out of the spoon with chopsticks, and slurp the broth from the spoon a the end.  While I will not say that I liked the color of the broth, there was a lot of stuff in it that did look good.  The broth was pretty spicy, but it was still flavorful and good.  In the broth was Sesame, Spicy Miso, a Poached Egg, Beef Brisket, Pork Belly, Pork Cheeks, Marinated Mushrooms, and Garlic Relish as well as a lot of noodles, of course.  In addition to being spicy, it was very meaty, and had a good garlic and sesame flavor.  The egg was poached perfectly.  It was solid enough to be picked up with chop sticks, but it was soft enough that it probably could have been sucked through a straw.  Despite the size of the dish, I managed to plow through it, and left happy and very satisfied.  I liked the food here and will be sure to be back.            

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