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Ramen? We know, it brings back many a co-ed memory. But here to kick any lingering dorm-room associations to the curb is Strings, Chicago’s first and only restaurant dedicated entirely to the noodle soup dish.

Located across from Chinatown’s main square, the new space is much like its menu: minimal, warm and in great taste.

We recently sunk into a sleek wooden booth and ordered an authentic Ramune soda (a fizzy Japanese lemonade drink) while deciding which of the four ramen options most struck our fancy.

Eventually we opted for the signature Tonkotsu, a hearty black boar bone stew topped with scallions, sesame seeds and a boiled egg. The dark, salty broth was delicious--but it was the perfectly textured noodles that really won us over. (They’re made on-site in noodle-making machines imported from Japan.)

A word to the ramen-wise? Wear a machine-washable top and prepare to slurp. It’s really the only way.

Strings Ramen Shop, 2141 S. Archer Ave; 312-374-3450 or

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