I love how Chicago’s restaurants embrace excess, highlighting meat and fat in every form at all meals and price points. Sure it’s indulgent, reckless even, but under a thoughtful chef’s care, this kind of cooking can be exhilarating. See: Avec, Little Goat, and Au Cheval.
Sometimes though, especially after a few days of glorious extravagance, all I desire is the comfort of a warm bowl of noodle soup. Hello, Yusho.
Owned and operated by Chef Mathias Merges, formerly the Executive Chef at Charlie Trotter’s for fourteen years, Yusho is a “a yakitori-inspired restaurant.” The space was designed by Merges’s wife, Rachel Crowl.
The menu here is usually focused on grilled meats on a stick, but Sundays are dedicated to noodles. The special Sunday Noodles menu is priced at $20 per guest and includes a bowl of noodles, dessert, and a beverage. It was just what The Astronomer and I were craving after going balls to wall for meals on end.
We both selected alcoholic drinks to pair with our noodles. For me, a frothy coconut, lime, and rum “kegged cocktail” that was available on draught. Every sip whisked my taste buds off to somewhere warm and tropical.
The Astronomer went for a bottle of Kawaba Snow Weizen, a German Hefeweizen beer brewed in Gunma Prefecture.
We added on an order of house-made pickles ($6); it’d been a while since we’d had any vegetable matter other than onion rings. The snappy collection of cucumbers, lotus roots, and carrots came marinated in a sweetish soy glaze with hijiki seaweed.
The selection of noodles available this evening included soba, lion’s head, and three varieties of ramen. The Astronomer and I chose the restaurant’s signature “Logan Poser Ramen”, which included a poached hen egg, nori, cucumber, and a crispy pig’s tail spear!
The broth—warming, slightly spicy, and wholly savory—was solid, while the straight noodles paired nicely. The highlight of the bowl was the crispy, porky accoutrement. Even when we tried to avoid excess in this town, it always had a way of finding us.
To finish, an order of piping hot tofu doughnuts dusted with hazelnuts and rosemary ($6). Sweet, savory, and deep-fried—my kind of dessert.
Good news: Yusho just opened inside the Monte Carlo in Las Vegas. West coasters, rejoice!
2853 North Kedzie Avenue
Chicago, IL 60618
Ramen. A lot of it.
- Momofuku Noodle Bar – New York City
- Ramen Street at Tokyo Station: Ikaruga & Menya Shichisai/Tokyo Edoama
- Ton Chan Ramen – San Gabriel
- Minca Ramen Factory – New York City
- Santouka Ramen – West Los Angeles
- Daikokuya Ramen – Downtown Los Angeles
- Naga Naga Ramen – Pasadena
- Shin Sen Gumi – Downtown Los Angeles
- Yatai Ramen Pop-up at Breadbar – Los Angeles
- Tsujita – Los Angeles
- Ippudo Ramen – New York City
- Chin Ma Ya Ramen – Downtown Los Angeleso
- Robata Jinya – Los Angeles