Nudo House, the long-awaited ramen restaurant from Qui Tran of Mai Lee and Marie-Anne Velasco, finally opened in 2017 — a year after St. Louis’ ramen boomlet. That gap lets us put the restaurant in proper perspective: It isn’t a late leap onto a bandwagon, but the result of patient, painstaking work. Tran and Velasco studied with Japanese ramen master Shigetoshi Nakamura. Their kitchen employs a refractometer to keep the broth’s viscosity consistent from bowl to bowl. And those broths — the fat-sticky classic tonkotsu, the schmaltz-kissed chicken tonkotsu, the suprisingly rich vegetarian option — elevate Nudo House from a strip-mall fast-casual joint to a St. Louis essential.
Hours: Lunch and dinner Monday-Saturday (closed Sunday)
Last year's ranking: New this year
Must order: Classic Nudo pork tonkotsu ramen ($12)