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Archive for September, 2013

Last night I was craving some Chinese beef noodle soup and since we were already in the International District, I turned to my trusty and increasingly prevalent tool, social media!  Smart phones and social media are such a double-sided sword these days in that they’re extremely useful to look up information at a moment’s notice, but at the same time they turn individuals into zombies! “…must….check…status…updates…!” Anyways, to make a long story short, I searched “beef noodle” in my “foodie” app got a ton of nearby restaurants. Mike’s Noodle House stood out with the highest numbers of reviews and overall high rating. It’s located on Maynard Ave S. between Jackson and King. Stepping inside, I immediately noticed two things: it’s very small and very clean. I did a rough count and estimate the max capacity to be about 34, but all the furnishings looked fairly new and well maintained. We were quickly seated next to the door and given our menus.

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entrance off maynard ave s

mikesnoodle.kitchen

nothin’ to hide here!

The Food:

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chinese “donut” $1.7

These aren’t the Americanized Chinese donuts you find at buffets, that are drowned in sugar, these are actually you tiaowhich translated literally means “oil sticks.” They’re traditionally eaten at breakfast with congee, soymilk and/or between “shao bing.” They weren’t as crispy as I’d like, and carried a more salty flavor with an subtly sweet aftertaste.

mikesnoodle.chinesebroccoli

chinese broccoli with oyster sauce $4.5

In an effort to maintain a balanced meal, we ordered the Chinese broccoli with oyster sauce. They were prepared excellently with a rich green color and a nice crunch. Many times, these can be overcooked which makes them softer with a less appealing bite. The bitterness was cooked down nicely and the oyster sauce countered with a strong savory sweet flavor.

mikesnoodle.brisketsoup

brisket noodle soup $6.1

When it comes to beef noodle soup, there are two traditional variations; clear broth and dark broth. I myself prefer the dark broth, also called, hong shao niu rou mian, or as I call it, 紅燒牛肉麵. The dark color comes from the use of soy sauce. For me, the most important aspect of a good noodle soup is the broth and the broth at Mike’s is, dare i say, almost as good as 我媽媽的 (momma’s)! It was extremely rich and flavorful with deep flavors of the soy, star anise, and spices. I put a dollop chili paste to appease my spicy-tooth. The brisket was almost fall-apart on its own tender and also carried awesome flavor from the many hours of braising. Everything about the broth and beef was an A…. the only thing I would I preferred differently were the noodles. I prefer the fresh hand pulled Chinese rice noodles which tend to be fatter, as opposed to the skinny egg noodles they serve here.  They were also under cooked requiring some diligence to cut between your tongue and teeth – unless you’re eating naengmyeon breaking noodles shouldn’t require extra efforts.

mikesnoodle.theend

i had stop when i hit plastic…

My Conclusion:

I love noodles. My mom loves noodles too, and growing up in a Chinese home, you could say she passed it down to me… I guess I “got it from my 媽媽!” I may even consider myself a noodle snob! That being said, Mike’s Noodle House definitely brings their A-game with what they serve. But, the true test is what my mom thinks when I bring her here next time… stay tuned!

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