Slurp Your Soup

If it wasn’t official before, it’s definitely official now: Hubbard Street is the Randolph Street/Restaurant Row of River North. It seems like every time I blink, a new hot spot is opening on the restaurant-inundated street; Slurping Turtle is just the latest of several newcomers. Started by Takashi Restaurant owners, the Asian noodle and small plate restaurant brings a slightly different vibe to the area. The exposed concrete walls, life-sized tapestry, sky-high ceilings, partially open kitchen, and mile long communal table spanning the dining area gives the restaurant a relaxed, Euro vibe that is easy to embrace.

My friend and I started last week’s meal with the Crispy Curry Croquettes, which came highly recommended by our waiter, as well as the Seared Big Eye Tuna. The Croquettes, which were my favorite of the appetizers, were filled with Japanese potato, lotus root, mushrooms and carrots, and served with a tasty curry sauce for dipping. The tuna sashimi was served with avocado and a sweet onion dressing. The fish was fresh and nicely seared, but overall the dish wasn’t particularly special. We also sampled the Duck Fat Fried Chicken, which was sent to us by the generous manager.

For our entrees we shared the Tori Ramen and Chahan. The Tori was a bowl of clear-sea salt broth with egg noodles, grilled organic chicken, soft-boiled egg, bok choy and snow peas. The noodles were delicious, and as the description suggests, the broth was simple and salty, without many additional flavors. The Chahan was Japanese fried rice with chicken, egg, carrot and green onions. The fried rice was so good and not at all greasy like the dish often is at Chinese restaurants.

The An Mitsu (Japanese Sundae) that we ordered for dessert was a bowl filled with goodies. The creamy vanilla ice cream was topped with chilled red bean and surrounded by a refreshing assortment of lychee, mandarin oranges, kiwi and agar agar cubes (jello-like cubes made from seaweed). It was a very unique and satisfying dessert that I would highly recommend.

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