When there’s a chill in the air, the chill thing to do is take down some warm, comforting soup. It doesn’t get much better than the five ramen options at Osaka Ramen — with Jeff Osaka himself at the helm — where bowls of intensely flavorful, clearly cooked-down broth arrive teeming with tender meats, fresh vegetables and impeccably cooked noodles. Each one comes topped with a gooey-centered egg that enriches the broth into a sauce-like elixir from the first moment it’s broken.
My favorite is the classic tonkotsu, with its pork-based (but not at all greasy) broth, slips of soft pork belly, pickled ginger (which nicely cuts the richness) and bamboo shoots. It’s all tied together by black garlic oil, its nuanced taste coming from the caramel sweetness of the black garlic, which turns the oil a little syrupy (almost like a balsamic glaze).
If you’re super hungry — the ramen bowls are so big, there might be leftovers, so plan accordingly — add on an order of chicken kara age. It’s some of the best fried chicken you’ll ever have, the gnarled, oh-so-crispy chunks made even more interesting with ginger and garlic, and served with a spicy mayo-based sauce. If you have more than two people, get two orders — it’s that good.
Convenient to: I like the vibe at the RiNo location (2611 Walnut St., 303-955-7938) — which sits about a two-block walk from the Larimer Lounge — more than the one in Cherry Creek North (2817 E. Third Ave., 303-524-9229), but they’re both inviting and relatively quick, easy stops in key areas. Counter service and table are both offered in the casual settings. Click here for details