Warm up with ramen bowls from Ramen House Shinchan

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Warm up with ramen bowls from Ramen House Shinchan. (WLS)

There are dozens of wonderful, authentic Japanese restaurants to try in Arlington Heights and Rolling Meadows, but a Palatine strip mall? Yes.

Since the beginning of the year, a husband-and-wife team have been recreating some of the best bowls of ramen I've had, since I ate in Japan a few years ago.

The locals and die-hards line up early at Ramen House Shinchan in a non-descript Palatine strip mall. They come for Shinji Sugiura's incomparable bowl of tonkotsu ramen, featuring a creamy white broth - the result of boiling pork bones for a good 15 hours. The chewy, flexible egg noodles come from California, while the tender pork butt and barely-cooked egg are made-in house. But that's just one of three unique bowls here. They also make a Taiwan-style ramen.

"Which has spicy ground pork with garlic, in soy sauce based chicken broth," said Sugiura's wife, Mika.

The chile-heat and soft, roasted cloves of garlic are perfect antidotes for colder weather. Another form of comfort comes in the awkwardly-translated "best condition" ramen, which has a literal haystack of crunchy vegetables mounded over the top and a broth that's a bit less intense and not nearly as rich as that creamy white tonkotsu.

"It's the same as the shoyu chicken broth, exactly the same as the Taiwan ramen, but we put lots of stuff, the vegetables, spicy and the garlic," Sugiura said.

Ramen House Shinchan
1939 S. Plum Grove Road, Palatine
(847) 496-4189
http://www.ramen-shinchan.com/
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