Wednesday, January 16, 2013

slurping turtle - chicago, il
116 west hubbard street
chicago, il 60654

slurping turtle is a casual restaurant from top chef masters contetant takashi yagihashi with a focus on japanese comfort food. having already enjoyed a meal at the chef's upscale eponymous restaurant in bucktown, i have had slurping turtle on my list for some time now, but have continued to put it off due to mixed reviews and a desire to visit during the colder months.

our meal at slurping turtle was the first of many excellent meals during a two day chicago visit that also included trips to grace, do-rite donuts, little goat diner, sixteen, and au cheval. we arrived at the restaurant shortly after 1:30 on a tuesday, and after a small bit of trouble locating the door we entered and were immediately seated in a booth along the far wall. the restaurant is multilevel, and has a very sleek and modern feel to it. our table was handled by a man named lance, who was friendly, knowledgeable, and engaging without ever becoming annoying. pictured below is what we ordered.
hitachino red rice and white ales.
gyoza (chicken pot stickers)
duck fat fried chicken
tonkotsu - homemade thin ramen noodle, silky pork broth, braised pork shoulder, pickled mustard greens
shoyu wonton ramen - homemade thin ramen noodle, classic tokyo style soy broth, chicken wonton, grilled chicken, snow peas, marinated egg
iron chef egg shooter - quail egg, coconut milk, mint, condensed milk, lime
coconut cream puff
macaroons - raspberry wasabi, yuzu, caramel soy

as mentioned above, the reviews on slurping turtle have been somewhat mixed, and as such i went in not really expecting much. while this may have skewed my overall opinion a bit, i definitely came away from the meal impressed. the space and service were both a step up from what i had anticipated, and i found all of the food to be quite enjoyable. i am no expert on ramen, having honestly only had properly prepared iterations of the dish on a few occasions, but both of the offerings we tried had great flavor and i loved the texture of the noodles. i have noticed that a lot of slurping turtles detractors seem to take issue with the price of the ramen, and while i realize it may not typically be in the $15 range per bowl, it also isn't often served under a pseudo-celebrity chefs name in an attractive modern space alongside other formidable dishes and thoughtful desserts. with all of this noted, i will end by saying that slurping turtle is a great spot to enjoy some hot soup on a cold day, and i would love to return again sometime and maybe have the chance to grab one of those cool looking booths upstairs.
Slurping Turtle on Urbanspoon

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