Saturday night approached, and I found myself scrolling through the Internet for new restaurants to try. I had been craving ramen for a while, and my boyfriend had actually never tried it before, at least the ones that weren’t vacuumed sealed in a pack.
I discovered this restaurant in the River North area of Chicago called Ramen-San. As my boyfriend and I walked in, we were greeted by the host and taken to our booth. It has low lighting, a creative design with bamboo tables and exposed brick walls, accompanied with 90's hip-hop blasting through the speakers. While my boyfriend felt intimidated by the menu options, I was anticipating seeing the hot broth this noodle joint had to offer.
Once our server greeted us, I chose our main ramen dishes to be the kimchi and fried chicken, buttered corn, fried garlic and spicy chili sauce. I saw a little devil character next to the menu selection, and our waitress shared that it’s her personal favorite and that the dish is particularly spicy. I don’t know about you, but I like my ramen in a very spicy broth; it adds flavor and seasoning to the noodle and opens up my taste buds. While waiting for our food, I enjoyed sake as I listened to Snoop Dog and Dr. Dre in the background, which was very satisfying.
Our bowls arrived, and I was on cloud nine while my boyfriend was distracted on how to work his chopsticks. The broth was spicy, flavorful and paired with the sake bomb, it was a hit. Most people are familiar with the classic ramen noodle dry pack that’s dirt cheap in grocery stores and gives us nostalgic flashbacks of our starving college days. People have always tried to spice up their cheap noodles with seasonings, my friend would even chop up grilled chicken in hers. What’s surprising is that massive amounts of people aren’t familiar with the classic Japanese dish and where it originates.
I recently found myself having a newfound love for sushi as well. I had tried some store-bought sushi rolls that weren’t so great for my first experience a while ago and wrote sushi off as something I didn’t enjoy. Until I started working at The Chopping Block and being a fly on the wall to the sushi classes, I discovered how much preparation and care goes into every meal. After tasting the leftovers from class and seeing what I’ve been missing for so long, I've learned that sushi is delicious! Whether its sushi or ramen, not only is the food great to eat, it makes the dish more enjoyable knowing how much time and effort went into preparing it.
The Chopping Block offers ramen and sushi workshops so that you can learn how to make these dishes from scratch! You can also shop the floor with your 10% discount after class. From sushi mats to noodle bowls, you will have everything you need to be your own ramen and sushi master.
- Sunday, February 2 11am Merchandise Mart
- Saturday, February 15 12pm Lincoln Square
- Wednesday, February 26 6:30pm Lincoln Square
- Tuesday, January 14 7pm Lincoln Square
- Wednesday, January 29 7pm Lincoln Square
- Sunday, February 2 6pm Lincoln Square
- Tuesday, February 11 6pm Merchandise Mart
Already taken our Sushi Workshop, don't miss our Sushi Workshop 2: Roll On on Friday, January 17 6pm at the Mart.
If you are interested in learning other Japanese classics besides sushi and ramen, join us for Japanese Homestyle Cooking on Monday, January 13 6pm at the Mart.
You'll learn to make:
- Okonomiyaki (Savory Pancakes with Pork Belly and Cabbage)
- Japanese Eggplant with Sesame and Miso
- Soba Noodles with Dashi Dipping Sauce
- Pork Katsu with Quick-Pickled Carrot and Cucumbers