Friday, July 12, 2013

Dumplings and Noodle Soups c/o Cheu Noodle

At some point a week or two back Mr. Ass and I made plans to make plans. Just exactly what we'd be doing, and with whom we would be doing it, were unclear. In the end it turned out to be just the two of us, and location became Cheu Noodle. I've been wanting to check out the culinary stylings of this spot and its earlier pop up and controversial iterations for what feels like two years. And finally the moment arrived. We were seated at a bar table near the back and service was prompt and friendly. The dude who told us about the specials was very enthusiastic and upbeat. I ordered a vinho verde, which wasn't my favorite version of the wine and could have been just a little colder. We chose to try their special dumplings of the night as well as a soft shell crab/cantaloupe gazpacho special. The former was especially compelling to Mr. Ass while (unsurprisingly) I was immediately drawn to the crab dish. None of the photographs of the crab dish are worth sharing. I liked it though the cantaloupe and crab elements, for me, didn't quite come together. The gazpacho was really neat though, sweet but somehow still a little savory. The crab itself was good too. I wasn't really that taken with the dumplings and Mr. Ass also felt a little let down by their quantity, size and overall taste.
I debated about what kind of noodle dish I wanted. Mainly I was see-sawing back and forth between the ramen and the lemongrass options. Ultimately I chose the lemongrass dish, which included corn, favas, rice noodles and coconut broth. There were things to like about this bowl, and that included the creaminess of the vegan broth and its lemongrass aroma. But at least for me, the noodles in this dish were quite a disappointment. They had no bite or spring left and were, instead, really mushy. I don't know if that's just how it's supposed to be or what. I know that rice noodles aren't the same as a ramen noodle or udon, but I really prefer a pasta noodle that has at least a little fight left.
Mr. Ass ordered the ramen with pork shoulder, egg, sea beans and miso broth. I didn't try the noodles, but I did try the broth as he tried mine. There was a moment where we both expressed perhaps a bit more appreciation for the other's dish. We probably should have just switched. The ramen's broth was thick and porky to the max and so very savory. I liked it.
We left glad to have tried the place, but not quite as blown away or itching to return as I think either of us expected we would be. I do think I'd like to go back at least one more time to try more of the regular dishes in their menu.

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