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One Great Dish: Strings Ramen's Chazuke Kuro Buta Sausage Bowl

By Chuck Sudo in Food on Mar 10, 2014 3:30PM

Photo credit: Chuck Sudo/Chicagoist

I was craving a visit to the new Chinatown ramen noodle shop Strings Ramen long before a mild Saturday afternoon gave way to a freezing Saturday night. By the time I and my dinner companions reached Strings we were all ready to be warmed by homemade noodles and classic broths.

The dinner overall proved to be as successful as I talked it up in my mind—I’ll have a full review of Strings Friday—but here’s one reason you should hie thee to Chinatown and visit immediately. Chazuke is a dish made by pouring a hot liquid over cooked rice and other toppings, similar to how milk is added to cereal. In Japanese cooking that liquid can be dashi stock, green tea or even hot water, which cooks the meats and other vegetables in the dish and is absorbed further by the rice. Nakano and his staff at Strings use green tea, thus preserving the flavors of the other components of the dish and making for an overall clean tasting dish.

Those flavors coalesce perfectly in Strings’s chazuke Kuro Buta sausage bowl. Sliced Berkshire pork sausages are nestled next to julienned carrots, scallions, corn and a nice hefty square of seaweed. The flavors imparted by each component in the dish are distinguishable but it’s the way they all blend that sealed the deal for me. The sausage provided all the saltiness necessary for the dish, which isn’t much. Any more or adding something like soy sauce would ruined the bowl’s harmony.

Strings also serves chazuke bowls with duck breast and chicken. The former is one of our favorite ingredients here but I’ll save that for the more detailed review Friday.

Strings Ramen Shop is located at 2145 S. Archer Ave., 312-274-3450.