Monday, April 02, 2012

A Well Roundeyed Meal: Cheu Noodle Pop-Up

With two feet firmly planted on the Ramen Radio Flyer, I snagged an early reservation for noodle nerds Ben Puchowitz and Shawn Darragh's third pop-up, held last night at Matyson.  While the simple yet complex noodle soup was definitely the draw, the rest of the menu held its own, showcasing Puchowitz's Asian abilities (rumor has it that he's really good at math, too*) as well as his talent with tails.  From start to finish, here's a lazy list of the things you should eat when you book your reservation for the next Cheu Noodle Bar.

Pineapple Juice: The beautiful chartreuse that results from mixing pineapple with jalapeƱo and Thai basil is both inviting and refreshing. The only thing lacking was rum (shoulda, coulda, woulda).

Peas with Togarashi Butter: I have never eaten a fresher pea, and I'm probably going to start putting togarashi on everything now.

Pig Tails: The glaze has that classic Chinese spare rib flavor (can anyone out there tell me how to replicate this?  So far all I've got is Chinese five-spice), and the meat slips effortlessly from the vertebrae-shaped bones.  If you're even the least bit apprehensive about eating these, close your eyes and imagine it's a rib.  It will be the best rib you ever eat.

Steamed Buns: Filled with lamb belly, harissa, and cucumber, it didn't quite form like Voltron, but it was enough to vanquish the hungry villain inside me.  The cucumber was somewhat of an afterthought.  Briefly pickled, neither the acid nor the crunch was enough to contrast the lamb belly's richness.

Ramen: The main event, and well within my extremely high expectations.  The noodles had the perfect amount of resistance, great for chewing, slurping, and quite agreeable to even the most novice of chopstick users.  The egg (I wound up with two) was savory Cadbury creme, and the yolk added depth to a broth whose umami made its way up to my eyeballs.  I think my hearing was even fucked up for awhile.  

For $30 including tip, it's well worth the buzz, and I'm hoping that the success of these allow for something more permanent.  And the other added bonus?  You don't have to live through a 9.0 magnitude earthquake for this noodle experience. Buen provecho.

*Actual math skills not confirmed at this time

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