Monday, October 3, 2022

Monster Ramen

-Grubbing in Chicago  
New to the Scene 

I was recently talking with a friend about the ascension of ramen not just in the U.S but across the world. It's reaching the level of pizza and burgers as far as access to a good bowl goes. You can find it just about anywhere. In Logan Square we have three spots within a 2 mile radius and today we visit the most recent opening of the trio - Monster Ramen. It debuted at Fullerton and St. Louis in August. 

Newly Opened in Logan Square 

Monster Ramen is the project of owner/chef Katie Dong. She's a self taught chef who worked at ramen shops around the city before opening her own spot. She describes herself as food obsessed with Monster Ramen being her dream project. The menu is relatively small with ramen, dumplings and a few appetizers on offer. The dumplings come steamed (sui) or fried (gyoza) and if you choose the gyoza they're cooked on these cute little home kitchen type cooking devices that seem to work well. I thought these were a textbook example of gyoza although they're made with beef not pork. 

Gyoza at Monster Ramen 

The noodles here are made on a prized machine imported from Japan. I read somewhere that it takes more than 24 hours to make them. Part of the reason that ramen has gotten so good across the world is access to good noodles but getting a machine from Japan is not the norm. I visited over the summer when they were doing Hiyashi chūka (chilled noodles) and their version topped with Wagyu rib roast was really good. They had the perfect chew and made for a great meal on a hot summer day. But they're currently not on the menu with the arrival of fall. My guess is they'll be back when the weather warms up again. The menu is likely to get switched up here and there as Chef Katie is always experimenting with recipes including a giardiniera based broth according to Eater Chicago. 

Hiyashi chūka at Monster Ramen 

There's about 6-8 ramen bowls to choose from including a couple vegan options. At least a few of them are made with a beef bone based broth (gyukotsu) which is pretty rare, even in Japan. That said I decided to try the bowl of shoyu plus which is a chicken based broth that I find to be more up my alley than pork bone based broth. I wanted something lighter than bone broth and they delivered with a very satisfying bowl that wasn't completely void of beef as a tender piece of beef chasu is what makes this a bowl of shoyu plus. Good stuff. I'll be keeping my eye on what the kitchen is cooking up. 

Shoyu Plus at Monster Ramen 

Monster Ramen 
3435 W Fullerton Ave
Chicago, IL 60647
(773) 770-9049

1 comment:

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