-Grubbing in Chicago
Japanese Pub Grub in Logan Square
As we all know by now 2020 messed a lot of stuff up. Particularly in the restaurant industry. But three years later and we’ve got a little bit of normalcy back though it’ll likely never be quite the same. The pandemic forced lots of spots to close and many of them never reopened but Nomonomo Japanese Pub is no longer one of them. It first opened amid the pandemic and closed not too long after that.
If you're familiar with Ramen Wasabi this is its sister restaurant along with Menya Goku on Montrose too. I got to go once during its first iteration but it was all to go so all I had was a bowl of Niku udon that hit the spot on a cold winters night. I had looked forward to returning for more but they eventually closed and the space sat empty for more than a year if not longer. I pass by it all the time since it’s a short walk from my house and I always wondered if and when they would return and if not when another spot would move in. Then out of nowhere I passed by one day and they were suddenly open again. I was excited enough to go over there a day later and try some of the skewers and also the udon. They also have small plates featuring a nice selection of Japanese bar food. But it’s the skewers grilled over binchotan charcoal and udon that dominates the menu. We started with a few skewers including a shishito slathered in tare sauce on the rec of our waiter plus a few of the chicken options and a couple specials including a Tsukune (ground chicken) stuffed with cheese. I liked them all and have been back a couple times since my first visit. This is a good spot for solo dining.
I like the fact that they decided to do udon instead of ramen since you can just go next door if you want ramen. Udon is becoming really popular with places that specialize in it popping up across the country. I fell in love with udon on a trip to Japan. Having enjoyed their Niku Udon before I figured the other udon options would be good here and they were. My recent visit was on a hot day so I focused in on the broth-less udons by pairing the Mentaiko Udon with their yaki udon mixed with kimchi and pork. I preferred the Mentaiko udon which is made by tossing a spicy cod roe into the housemade udon noodles. You get a little bit of heat mixed with the taste of the sea. It packs a nice umami punch. I liked the yaki udon too but it was wetter than I would’ve liked. The little bite size pieces of pork were tender and the kimchi was crunchy while the noodles were slightly chewy which is how they should be. I'm really glad to have this spot back as it's a great place to go when I don't want to go far even though I would happily drive here if it wasn't near. But like I've said on the site before, Logan Square is the city's best food neighborhood and it just keeps on getting better.
Mentaiko Udon / Yaki Udon
2115 N Milwaukee Ave
Chicago, IL 60647