Miso Ramen at Noodles by Takashi Yagihashi

I first heard about Noodles by Takashi Yagihashi through various food sites and word of mouth. It wasn’t until BE (boyfriend elected) peaked my interest. After a ramen huddle, I was on a mission to find this place. More like, I was elected to try it out.

At the corner of State and Lake, I was on the phone with him and he stated, “It’s at this address. Do you see it?” Me: “What? Macy’s?!?!” Him: “Yeah, it’s in a store.” Me: “Some store indeed!” Huh, an interesting choice of venue. Admittedly, when I realized it was in Macy’s food court, my self imposed expectations of the ramen fell. It’s in a food court… in downtown Chicago… IN MACY’S. Once inside, a Macy’s security guard directed me to the 7th floor food court.

Display

Noodles by Takashi is located towards the middle of the court. This sign also made me pause and think, Marcus Samuelson has burgers?? Must come back for that!

Noodles Display

Ahh, arrival.

Ramen Menu

Let’s take a look at the menu. My immediate thoughts were ‘ramen, combos, fried rice (cha-han), tatsuta-age?!, dumplings-potstickers is redundant, harumaki-spring roll is redundent, spring rolls sounds good.’

Staff1

Staff of 3 doing actual cooking. 2 people taking orders and putting toppings on ramen bowls.

Display1

And people waiting for their ramen. A diverse crowd of hungry patrons.

Staff2

Just… 3 people? Moving forward, I ordered a miso ramen + potsticker combo (potstickers should be named gyoza since it’s a Japanese place, but I suppose I’m splitting hairs).

Staff3

You are given a tray and like everyone else, you stand and wait for your ramen. As people get their food, you slide your tray and drinks down too.

Display2

Don’t forget to pick up your soup spoons, forks and chopsticks along the way. Sometimes you’ll slide to the end of the counter and forget.

Staff4

Sliding down the counter comes with improved visibility of the kitchen. Toppings galore on these ramen bowls. Nothing is held back.

Display3

You made it to the end of the counter. Now wait for them to yell your order out.

Miso Ramen

Miso ramen is ready to eat. A few observations I made before digging in. As in the U.S.A., bigger is better so there’s a hefty amount of toppings on this ramen. The naruto is cut kind of odd (fish cake; the swirly white and pink thing). I do read the actual Naruto manga itself /off topic.

Ramen close up

Seaweed, bean sprouts, green onions (scallions), corn, braised pork, sesame seeds and some unidentifiable spice. Looking good so far.

Miso broth

In the ramen world, the broth makes the bowl. If you don’t understand, go rent the movie Tampopo. Looking at this spoonful of broth is a giveaway that the broth is off. Why? Because the broth is too clear and it looks like a shoyu/shio (soy sauce/salt) broth. I know since I typically order miso ramen because it has a heavier, thicker, heartier, fattier, richer tasting broth with a miso taste. You may think I’m talking BS, but go here and read about it. Also, BE orders shoyu ramen more than me so I have an idea of what it looks/tastes like. I tasted the broth and honestly thought I had the WRONG BOWL. It tasted like shoyu with a tiny bit of something else, I’m guessing miso. I returned the bowl and the staff assured me that I had, indeed, received a miso ramen.

Veggie Zoom

Not going to lie, I was really disappointed in the broth, but I have other parts of this meal to take into account. Bean sprouts was fine, corn was fine, seaweed was bland, green onions was fine…

Pork zoom

But the pork! This braised pork was the bomb! It was so tender that it fell to pieces after I pulled it out from under the vegetables. How about I just order a plate of this meat instead? This was GOOD. Tender. Nomnom-licious. Flavorful. W.T.F. More pork please, seriously. Next time, I’m around the food court, I will attempt to order a plate of this meat. It’s good.

Pork Dumplings1

Let’s check out my half order of pork dumpling potstickers (redundant). Comes with sauce and if requested, some hot sauce (in the background).

Pork Dumplings2

Took off the lid and moved the sauce to the side. Looking good! Tasted the pickled cabbage. Ok, we’re going to change my order next time I’m here. A plate full of pickled cabbage and braised pork PUH-LEASE. This was crisp, sweet and tangy. I was wondering why people left their pickled cabbage on their trays. BECAUSE THEY’RE CRAZY?

Dumpling Zoom

I ordered the dumplings because the wait staff said she really liked them. And I should have totally IGNORED her advice and gotten the shrimp harumaki instead. The filling was bland, the mouth feel of the meat felt mushy and the dumpling skin was oily and limp. I can make better dumplings than that.

Empty bowl

I finished the bowl. Why? Because I was hungry and I can’t bear to leave it uneaten (and I paid for it). For those wondering, the noodles were fine. Surprisingly, not mushy. I was sad after eating it. Lots of great things going for the ramen, but the broth needs serious improvement. On the other hand, I ran into some familiar faces and they ended up ordering the shoyu ramen and the tatsuta-age (Japanese fried chicken). The tatsuta-age looked really good. Perhaps I’ll order that next time around. BE and I figured it may be safer to order the shoyu ramen since…. that’s what my miso ramen tasted like. Might as well get the official thing. But one thing for sure, a plate of pork and pickled cabbage is in order.

Noodles by Takashi Yagihashi
Located inside Macy’s, 7th floor
111 North State Street
Chicago, IL 60602
http://www.takashichicago.com/

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2 Responses to Miso Ramen at Noodles by Takashi Yagihashi

  1. Betty says:

    Bummer about the miso ramen. Perhaps (and this is just a longshot theory) they DID give you shoyu broth and just added miso ramen toppings. With a line that long during a rush, I doubt the person putting toppings would stop everything just to switch out a bowl of the wrong broth. Then again, you’d hope they WOULD care enough to do that. I may be getting a little too cynical…

    • eatfoodnao says:

      I’m sure there will be a return visit to this place, but when you open for 4 hours per day, 6 days a week, in serving ramen, I don’t know what’s going on the ramen end. Most people were ordering shoyu ramen so maybe that’s THE thing to get.

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