As Denver’s frigid days become more frequent, there’s only one dish we crave: a hot bowl of ramen. Lucky for us, on Monday, November 13, we will have the opportunity to taste—and judge—five versions of the Japanese noodle soup at Departure Denver Restaurant & Lounge’s very first ramen showdown.

The Cherry Creek eatery has invited five of Denver’s top chefs to compete: Gregory Gourdet of Departure; Steve Redzikowski of Acorn, Oak at Fourteenth, and Brider; Lon Symensma of ChoLon, Concourse; and Kaya Kitchen; Tommy Lee of Hop Alley and Uncle; and Corey Baker of Sushi Ronin and the soon-to-come Izakaya Ronin. All five are represented on our 2017 list of Denver’s 25 Best Restaurants.

As these five chefs well know, good ramen takes technique, high-quality ingredients, and time to coax out the desired flavors. We asked chef Tommy Lee about his strategy for the competition, and he chalked the perfect bowl up to a careful balance between noodles and broth. “You can have a good broth and you can have good noodles, but if they don’t match, it won’t be as good as it can be,” he says.

Uncle Ramen
Tommy Lee’s spicy chicken ramen at Uncle. Photo by Adam Bove

Guests will receive five ramen tasting bowls accompanied by an optional sake pairing (for an additional $20), and each and every attendee gets to play judge. After you decide who deserves the highly coveted title of “Ramen Showdown Shogun,” you’ll be treated to a bite-size koji-chestnut ice cream dessert from Departure’s pastry chef, Erin Koroll.

A portion of the proceeds will be donated to Project Angel Heart, benefitting its mission of delivering food to those with life-threatening illnesses.

Eating ramen for a good cause? Count us in. We can’t wait to slurp our way through all of the chefs’ creations, from shoyu to miso to tonkatsu.

Tickets are $30; $20 for additional sake pairing. Call 720-772-5020 to buy tickets.

November 13, 6–10 p.m., Departure Denver Restaurant & Lounge, 249 Columbine St.