I’ve been struggling to come up with something to write for AnimeChicago for the longest time when I stumbled upon Jamie trying to guide fellow anime fans in the right direction for ramen. For me, Ramen = Life is a motto that I can easily live by. While everyone is going to have different tastes and opinions, the Ramen Review is here to serve strictly as a guide to, and the means of, finding out about the ramen shops in the glorious city of Chicago. On the menu this week, we’re going to take a look at one of the coolest shops and the most difficult to get into, High Five Ramen.
Only seating 16 people at a time, the wait for High Five Ramen can be extremely long. The first time I had to wait an hour, but my friends and co-workers assured me that it was some of the best ramen that the city had to offer. I sat down in the dimly lit restaurant, with hip-hop tunes blaring in the space and I immediately felt like I was in an episode of Samurai Champloo. After consulting with the bartender as to what to get and nodding my head to the awesome tunes emanating through my ears, I opted to order the signature bowl, the High Five Ramen, at the Half Spice level. With the music filling my ears, nodding my head up and down, I was feeling the vibes that High Five had to offer and then this glorious thing arrived…
A sight to behold and my senses immediately being overcome by the level of spice, I was enamored by the presentation of the ramen sitting in front of me. This wasn’t a traditional bowl of ramen, this was something else entirely and as soon grabbing some noodles and shoving them into my face, my taste buds reaffirmed this notion. While the bowl has a minimal amount of ingredients, with tonkatsu broth, black garlic oil, bean sprouts, scallions, sliced pork belly and a seasoned egg somehow managed to create a euphoric experience that I have yet to encounter in another bowl of ramen. The level of spiciness was just on the verge of being too much and just right, that made it standout from a conventional bowl of ramen and more of a moment encapsulated in time.
Even if the High Five bowl isn’t up to your speed, I’ve gone enough times afterwards to co-sign on the much more traditional Shoyu Bowl and the vegetarian Maitake Ramen bowl that should satisfy any foodie or ramen fan. This Hogsalt establishment opens at 6pm daily and offers either a cold or hot towel after the meal, depending on the season. While it may difficult to get in and it may not be welcoming to larger parties, High Five Ramen is truly next level and challenges anyone that dares enter its domain.
- PRO – Incredible taste and unlike anything else.
- CON – Long wait time and difficult for large parties.
- High Five Ramen – Half Spice
- Maitake Ramen (Vegetarian)