Out of nowhere, Viv thought it would be a great idea to head down to the States on the Canada Day long weekend. Well, that is not really a stretch except we were going to head to San Diego a little over 3 weeks anyways. Whatever. I offered up little resistance since we had Nexus and heading to Seattle meant we could do more eating! So, changing up things this time, we decided to head down after dinner. Since we had a relatively early dinner, Viv thought it would not be a good idea to not eat something before bedtime. Hey, I ain't gonna argue with that brilliant idea. Checking up on the late night dining spots in Bellevue (we were staying at Goose's house), Boom Noodle caught my eye. Now, when one finds out it is a place where you can get Pho, Ramen and Yakisoba, it might send shivers up some peoples' spine. I was curious though and especially with one kid in tow, we needed kid-friendly late night eats.
Located in Bellevue Square, Boom Noodle is right next to its sister restaurant, C Sushi. With a hip decor and attractive non-Asian staff, it appeared I was heading straight down a path of noodle hell. However, we stuck with it and went about our ordering. I decided to go for the Shio Ramen as a comparison to what we have in Vancouver. And you know what? It was actually not bad. I gotta admit that I was expecting something less. It had all of the usual components such as bamboo shoots, corn, shiitake mushrooms and naruto in a chicken-pork broth. I found the broth to be rather salty; but then again, it is shio. It had lots of flavour and depth. The noodles were perfectly al dente and remained chewy throughout. Although there were some moist chunks of chashu, the leaner cuts were a bit stringy. It did have a nice meaty flavour though. I'm not afraid to admit that this was a decent bowl of ramen, even when compared to the ones we have in Vancouver. I also added a Soy Marinated Egg and it was more or less what is offered at most Japanese ramen shops.
For my son, we got him the kid's Chicken Pho. For $4.00, this was a very good value. Equivalent in size to a small pho at most other Vietnamese joints, this was more than enough food for him. I tried the broth and it was actually quite light (it could've used more salt). Despite the lack of initial flavour, it was high on fragrance, this was not a traditional beef pho broth (it is beef-chicken broth); but it was good in its own ways. There was a nice lemongrass note to it and natural sweetness. Add in the usual cilantro, lime, basil and sprouts with al dente noodles and again, I am not afraid to admit this was more than acceptable. Moving away for soup noodles, we also tried the Yaki Udon consisting of marinated chicken, fresh mushrooms, cabbage, red chilies, dancing bonito flakes. We omitted the chilies so my son could actually eat some. Even without the chilies, the udon was flavourful. I thought the udon itself could've been less wet and soft. Otherwise, the cabbage was crisp and the fresh shitake added much Earthiness. Lastly, we had a side of Kimchi and this was a bit too sour. It had a moderate amount of spice and was crunchy though. Okay, I'm not afraid to put myself out there. It is so easy to pan a place like this since it does not look like or is run like an authentic noodle joint. But let's be honest here, all this talk about authenticity and "who" runs the place is plain silly if we do not focus on the food. For me at least, it was more than acceptable for a reasonable price.
- The noodles are surprisingly decent
- Reasonably-priced kid's menu
- Non-typical noodle joint decor (although it is still spartan)
- Prices are on the higher side for noodles; but it is okay considering all factors
- The authenticity police will be sure to make an arrest (even though it was close enough for me)