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The Kamehachi group are at it with a new concept in the old Old Town Kamehachi location.  After moving down the street to a vamped up and more centrally located spot, Kamehachi Sushi gave way to a newcomer on the scene – Tokyo 21 Asian Pub (1400 N. Wells St.).
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Jill and I went on a Thursday when they were featuring $3 dumplings on special.  First was the crab and bacon rangoon.  Four tiny pouches of yummy, smoky, creamy filling fried just right and served alongside a slightly creamy mango sweet and sour sauce.
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The goons were hot out of the fryer and the sauce cooled off the puppies nicely.  The bacon was a unique spin that didn’t overpower the crab at all.  Jill and I agreed we liked them more than expected.
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We put in an order of shrimp spring rolls as well.  Wrapped in a light and delicate rice paper were poached shrimp sliced in half, julienne carrots, cucumber, bean sprouts along with fresh basil and some light noodles.  The rolls were accompanied by a spicy sweet and sour sauce.
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They took on the flavor of the sauce well and the shrimp were fresh and accented more by the addition of basil.  A nice twist on the typical spring roll.  Lighter, sure, but extremely fresh and ’twas easy to appreciate its simplicity.
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The third dumpling was a delicious kimchi mandu housing Korean spiced pork, tofu and kimchi in a traditional potsticker style wrapper.  It was piping hot, crispy on the bottom and light and doughy on top.
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It was a nice size – easily two full bites – and the filling was coarsely ground which gave it nice texture alongside the kimchi and marinated tofu.
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Of course, we had to sample their house ramen.  A surprisingly complex tonkotsu (pork) broth was saturated with delicious pork, bamboo shoots and scallions. 
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The dish was simple but had layers of rich piggie flavor as well as a spot on mouth feel for quality ramen.  The right consistency is often what’s missing in those ramen that don’t make the list. 
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The pork was tender and all the veggies still  have nice texture and didn’t lose their flavor from being cooked to long in the liquid.
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We originally tried out Tokyo 21 because of their dumpling special but left a fan of their ramen.  It’s often in a situation like these that I find a superb dish on a menu when I was there for something completely different.  Next time in Old Town swing by T21 for some noddles and dumplings that bring a lot of thunder to the table and won’t put you in the poor house.
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