The Other Critics

Sula Manages Non-Sexual Slurping Turtle Review, But Kramer Gets Messy There

Shoyu ramen at Slurping Turtle.
Shoyu ramen at Slurping Turtle. Photo: Sky Full of Bacon

Mischievously flinging a wet noodle across the room at a certain rival critic, Mike Sula announces that his Slurping Turtle review will, despite everything about the place, be sexual innuendo-free. Then, being Sula, he becomes Authenticity Cop, declaring some of our recent wave of Japanese places “fauxikayas” (but, to his credit, expressing a little skepticism about the anywhere-but-here ramen snobbery we long since grew weary of on Twitter and LTHForum). Still, like Nagrant, he can’t quite say that soup is where Slurping Turtle is at: “The tan tan-men—the Japanese version of Sichuanese dan dan mien, a mildly spicy miso-based stew thick with ground pork and bulging meatballs—is the most satisfying bowl on the menu, every bit as fulfilling as the Chinese-influenced chiyan pon is disappointing.” Instead, he too admires the solid food: “Luscious miso-dressed black cod is a miniature of the ideal. Grilled chicken hearts are plump and beefy. A charred mochi brick is glutinous and chewy under its girdle of crispy bacon.” [Reader]

Julia Kramer’s take on Slurping Turtle is a little less concerned about ramen hipsterism (she sniffs at what she calls “a certain breed of restaurant patron—more often than not male, more often than not very into David Chang”) but in the end, she comes out at the same place. She likes the ramen, she doesn’t mind that she’s wearing a lot of it by the end, “but this is a full-fledged restaurant, and here’s how future visits—and oh, will there be future visits—will be handled. It will begin with octopus salad. And ceviche of scallops, squid and cuttlefish topped with wonton strips. And hamachi tartare in delicate little taro root tacos. These are astoundingly balanced raw preparations, easy on the acidity that so often overwhelms ceviches.” She finds this side of the menu better than either the ramen or the bincho— “Unless you’re making a meal out of the skewers, even luscious miso-marinated black cod and funky chicken gizzards and blistered shishito peppers seem flat compared to the dynamism of most of the dishes here.” [Time Out Chicago]

Sula Manages Non-Sexual Slurping Turtle Review, But Kramer Gets Messy There