Slurping Turtle (Restaurant, River North)

Location: 116 W. Hubbard
Phone: (312) 464-0466
Website: http://slurpingturtle.com/home.php
Cuisine: Noodles
Reservations: Not Taken

Slurping turtle was an answer to my prayers. Ramen noodles have always been an obsession of mine; I was the kid who ate ramen noodles all the time in college — but, not because I had no money (though I didn’t in fact, have any money). I just have always loved those slurp-able noodles down to every last drop of salty broth. And the ramen bowls at Slurping Turtle are not your $0.25 noodle packs. Every ramen bowl is perfectly layered of flavorful broth and tasting ingredients.

They have a simple, yet satisfying cocktail program that will surely make each member of your group happy. But, hopefully, you have a sake lover in the group. They even offer sake flights, which allowed our table to try its first bubbly sake. We were hooked. They have the obligatory as well as some more unusual Japanese craft beers, which will quench any beer addicts thirst.

Our table began with the tartare hamachi, the octopus salad, and some bincho grill bites. The bincho grill is great to share a couple delicious pieces of seafood or meat, but don’t count on them filling you up. Don’t worry though, they’re not the main star anyway. If you haven’t been to Takashi, don’t miss the pork belly buns, they’re the same as Takashi’s main restaurant and just as succulent.

Now, the noodles. Oh, the noodles. The Tan Tan Men, whole wheat egg noodle, spicy miso with ground pork and spicy homemade sausage, was the table hit, and we could have stopped there. The Shoyu ramen and the slurping noodle were also bursting with flavor and had us slurping to the last bite. Well, almost the last bite. These bowls are BIG, so keep in mind you might have some leftovers.

We finished with the cream puff with sea salt icing and it was the perfect sweet end to our indulgent savory meal. And I’ve been planning my next visit ever since. Remember, go on the early side and be prepared to wait for a table. Also, this isn’t the best place for a first date, it can get rather noisy, and you’re more than likely going to be seated at the communal table if you’re a small group. That said, it is definitely worth the wait.

You know a place is great when their “celebrity” chef is always at his restaurants, whether they’re on the line perfecting dishes, walking around talking with customers, or simply taking reservations at the host stand (I’ve seen James Beard award winner Takashi Yagihashi doing all of the above). Takashi had me hooked at Takashi, and now I’ll follow him anywhere.

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Tessa McLean

About Tessa McLean

There is just something about that feeling when you have been away — maybe for a weekend, a month, 6 months — and you’re driving into Chicago and that first glimpse of the city skyline appears. It just always makes me smile.

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