Danielle Lirette


In the summer of 2014, Miki Hashimoto opened Tokio in Prospect, a newly hot neighborhood in the Platte Valley. Hashimoto isn't new to the restaurant business; he ran Japon, a sushi spot, in Washington Park for close to twenty years and and he'd thought long and hard about what he wanted to do next. "Sushi's not an exotic food anymore; anybody can grab it anywhere," says Hashimoto. And, in fact, you can grab sushi at Tokio, too. But the real focus here is noodles. "We're trying to make it different," he explains, and that's obvious from the minute you walk in. Rather than feeling cramped, like so many counter-driven noodle shops, Tokio is airy and expansive. But if the space is serene, the fare -- the ramen, especially — is anything but. Before opening Tokio, Hashimoto returned to Japan to take ramen-making classes; what he learned is displayed in the menu's many varieties, which feature strong, commanding flavors, with plenty of collagen and fat from the pork and chicken they're made of. There's also an emphasis on items off the grill, which is operated with traditional binchotan charcoal imported from Japan.