Shoyu ramen, Furious Spoon

Shin Thompson bounced back quickly after shuttering his Lake Street “Japanese Brasserie” Kabocha with something almost totally at odds with that unfocused effort: Furious Spoon, a narrow ramen-ya with communal tables a stone’s throw from the Wicker Park crotch. We are close to achieving peak ramen in this metropolis—particularly on Milwaukee Avenue, with Wasabi just one mile to the north and the two-year-old Oiistar two blocks to the south, so Thompson had better bring it.

One immediately obvious way he’s distinguished Furious Spoon is that it operates much like a real ramen-ya, as opposed to its neighboring competitors which have broader menus of things you typically shouldn’t be bothered with when you’re eating a big bowl of noodles. At Furious Spoon there are just four options, customizable with a variety of toppings. There are a handful of sides and beverages, and Pocky for dessert, but focus really is on the noodles. Also speed. I clocked my bowls at about two and half minutes from order to table. If you’re slurping appropriately, you’re in and out in 20 minutes.

Right now there’s a miso-based vegetable bowl with roasted garlic, cabbage, and pickled mushrooms ($6.75); a soy-based shoyu with chashu pork belly ($8.75); a pork belly, mushroom, and standard miso ($8.75); and the signature meat-lovers Furious Ramen (11.75), pork belly, chicken, and poached egg in a spicy miso amped up by an apple-chile sauce (an earlier version contained brisket and pork cheeks). There’s really not much to complain about in any of these bowls. The house-made alkalized noodles are firm. The broth—particularly the miso-based—has good body and brings a respectable degree of lip-sticky collagen to the table. Varieties will rotate. Tsukemen, thick cold noodles served naked with a side of warm reduced pork stock for dipping, just hit the menu.

Overall the ramen at Furious Spoon is good midlevel stuff relative to the rest of the pack. What I like a lot are the dynamics of a place where you’re subtly urged to put your head down, slurp, and get out.

Furious Spoon

Furious Spoon, 1571 N. Milwaukee, 773-687-8445,