Sweet of the Week: Yuzu Creamsicles at Ramen-san
I've said it before and I'll say it again: there's never a wrong time for ice cream. Regardless how frigid the temperature might be, the icy treat is always welcome in my mouth. No matter how gluttonous the preceding meal may have been, there's something so light and refreshing about ice cream, especially when it hits that sweet spot between fruity-acidic and rich 'n' creamy. Such ice cream can be found at Ramen-san, one of the best destinations for winter dining in Chicago considering the surfeit of cozy noodle comforts, warm cocktails, and porcine bao buns. Not only is the yuzu creamsicle a refreshing finale, it's especially apropos in its dainty size, making it all too easy to inhale a cone after stuffing your face with meaty broth bowls.
The beautiful thing about the creamsicle, by nature, is its inherent balance of flavors and textures. The combo of vanilla ice cream and fruit makes for a dessert that's not too rich but not too light at the same time. It's creamy juxtaposed by natural fruit acids, each component accenting and complimenting the other. At Ramen-san, they serve up their own take on the creamsicle template by incorporating yuzu, a citron prominent in Asian cuisine, which ties in perfectly with the restaurant's menu ethos. Tiny ice cream cones arrive with striations of vanilla ice cream and yuzu, providing a pop of lemonade-like flavors interspersed with silky vanilla custard. Don't go halfway though, because once you near the bottom of the cone you'll find a dollop of chocolate mousse, which serves as the perfect enriching finale.
- Matt Kirouac