Sherman's Food Adventures: Le Mien - Craft Noodle

Le Mien - Craft Noodle

Having just eaten several poutines and other heavy French food, we were ready for some noods.  But we were in Ottawa and wasn't expecting to find anything legit especially in the touristy area of Byward Market.  Alas, after wandering around looking at random spots, which included an inordinate amount of gastropubs, we stumbled upon Le Mein - Craft Noodle.  After a quick Google search, it seemed to be decent.  On the outside it looked promising with hand pulled noodles being made right at the front.

We decided to sit inside since it was pretty toasty outside.  Settling in, we looked at the menu and I decided to get my offal fix (haven't had it in awhile!) with the Brine Pork Intestine as well as a Marinated Egg.  Well the intestine was gamy as expected, but that I enjoyed.  No one else at the table wanted any!  They were missing out...  I found it fatty and tender with a good amount of spice and saltiness.  As for the egg, it was overdone (but that was expected) while saltyish with some star anise notes.

For my noodle, I went for the Hand-Pulled Noodle with Bean Sauce and Meat (aka Ja Jeun Mein).  This was quite good with chewy al dente noodles (I chose medium thick) mixed with a savoury and meaty bean paste sauce.  It was a little sweet to balance off the saltiness.  I added some chili oil to kick it up a few notches.  Loved the julienned carrots and cucmber as it added crunch.  Not too sure about the edamame as it was hard to eat.

Costanza went for the baseline in the Traditional Hand-Pulled Noodle with Beef.  The thin noodles were also al dente with a chew that had some elasticity.  The broth was light and clean bordering on bland.  However, with a chili oil slick, this helped amp the flavours a bit with some smoky spice.  We also found some thinly-sliced daikon where that flavour was present in the soup.

Viv ended up with the Hand-Pulled Beef Noodle with Pickled Cabbage.  So this was essentially the same as the previous noodle except with the addition of the cabbage.  Hence, the soup was a bit more complex due to the tangy sourness.  As for the slices of beef, they were tender and required not much in the way of chewing.  Again, the chili oil slick did help produce some more impact.

Elaine chose the Braised Beef Tendon in Brown Sauce Noodle.  Due to the addition of the braising liquid to the soup, there was more depth and meatiness (as well as some more fat).  This probably tasted the best of all the soup noodles but there seemed to be an absence of meat.  Yes, she did find some tender morsels, but it was very little of it.  Once again, the noodles were al dente. In the end, this meal hit the spot as we were craving comfort food.  The bowls of noodles are deceiving as it looks large, but in reality, there is much more soup than noodles and meat.  Despite that, we still enjoyed it.

The Good:
- Chewy hand-pulled to order noodles
- Fair pricing
- Excellent service

The Bad:
- Bowls of noodles could use a bit more noodles and meat
- Soup could be more impactful


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