Tochi, Ardent bring artful Japanese noodle soups to Milwaukee
Story by Rebecca Ratterman
Photography by Joe Laedtke
Move over Maruchan Instant Lunch Ramen, there are new ramen makers in town and they’re doing it better—way better. Recently two restaurants, the new Tochi and the already established Ardent, have begun to make delicious gourmet ramen in the city.
In January Milwaukee welcomed Tochi, a bright and serene restaurant located in the basement of Shorewood’s Garden Room, which had previously housed Anaba Tea Room. Tochi now serves sublime ramen to complement Anaba’s previous selection of tea (along with a staff trained to guide you through your tea and food choices). Currently, Chef Gregg Des Rosier’s menu ranges from enticingly unique ramen dishes (options include pork belly and smoked bone marrow butter) to congee (a type of rice porridge) and other rice dishes more than capable of pleasing anyone’s inner foodie. For diners unfamiliar with the fare an adventurous choice will undoubtedly pay off, but the traditional Tochi Ramen (also known as Miso ramen) is a good place to start: hot Singapore noodles bathed in a pork-based broth and paired with exquisite, melt-in-your-mouth pork belly and welsh onion — all topped with a spicy miso deviled egg delivering a complementary kick.
Further south, Ardent on Farwell launched in November last year with a menu centered on contemporary American cuisine, but in late hours has more recently begun serving up steaming bowls of ramen. On Friday and Saturday nights starting at 11:30, Chef Justin Carlisle, the former head chef of Umami Moto, lends his expertise to a ramen menu with exactly one dish: Tonkotsu Ramen, another type of traditional ramen made with pork bone broth (tonkotsu). Ardent’s space features romantic lighting, hipsters, and a rustic ambiance complete with silver antler wall hangings and burlap window shades. Chef Justin’s ramen comes with optional additions (but NO substitutions), cold PBR, and keeps serving until the food runs out.
2107 E. Capitol Drive, Shorewood, WI
1751 N. Farwell Avene, Milwaukee, WI
Rebecca Ratterman is a Marquette University senior from Louisville, Kentucky who is studying Writing Intensive English and Business while interning for Edible Milwaukee. She is a coffee fiend and loves all of the local food that Milwaukee has to offer (caffeinated or not). She loves to travel, talk to strangers, eat, and spend time with loved ones. Last year Rebecca studied abroad in the beautiful city of Copenhagen, Denmark and still craves the local bread, rugbrød, every day.
Joe Laedtke has been a life-long food enthusiast, starting when he was still a kid growing up in Washington Heights, watching his grandma Shirley intently as she taught him her secret recipes for onion dip, turkey gravy, and rouladen, and even through college as he delivered pizzas throughout the greater Ripon area in a 1978 AMC Pacer. These days, he proudly represents the unique combination of freelance photographer and licensed funeral director, and has garnered national attention with his website, Eating Milwaukee, including a segment on CBS This Morning. He has absolutely no willpower whatsoever around essentially any Asian cuisine.