I have long had fantasies about slurping crap noodles from a bowl in some awesome Asian noodle shop. It’s a simple wish. I spent my first year in college living off of ramen, and I have nothing but fond memories of it. Especially Sapporo Ichiban Chow Mein. My god. It is so. Good. And it’s one click away. You can order 24 packs online, right now. That kind of convenience probably leads to heart attacks. BUT I DIGRESS. The point was that if noodles out of a plastic package are so good, noodles from an actual shop are bound to be ecstasy! So I found this:
Noodle n’ Thai. Also known as Asian Noodle World. At tampanoodles.com. This small shop is near the university, next to the ABC Pizza and Target on Fletcher. I have seen this bad boy sitting there for a while, and attempted to go long ago. Unfortunately, it was closed due to some sort of… family wedding, and the sign said they’d remain closed for months. I was pissed. We ended up going here instead (not bad for a backup plan). So I bitterly forgot about them until just recently, when a friend mentioned how much he loved the place. So we hit dat shit up.
Like I said, it’s a tiny shop. The majority of the space inside is taken up by a giant kitchen, leaving a front dining area with only a handful of small tables, and a little hallway with a couple more tables and the register. It was so cramped, I couldn’t take a picture of the front dining area without feeling like I was invading people’s privacy. And I never care about people’s privacy.
We were greeted by a friendly lady who ended up being our server. She was very nice, and you could tell that the people working here are fond of regulars. Most of the people there seemed to already know the staff. I ordered a Coke (which came in a can) and perused the menu. Noodles. Noodles everywhere. And… what’s this? WINGS? Yes, please. I asked about their spicy wings (“marinated chicken wings, deep-fried and flavored with a spicy Thai sauce”), and was devastated to learn that they didn’t have any prepared. OH GOD. I was pissed. I started kicking things around. My friends calmed me down. “It ain’t worth it, man. Just leave it.” I sat back down, composed myself, and ordered some god damn noodles.
Their menu is pretty extensive. They have a section for noodle soups, stir fried noodles, several Thai dishes, spicy dishes and curry dishes. But I knew I wanted a noodle soup of some sort.
I went with the chicken tom kah noodle soup, which had rice noodles and chicken with mushrooms in a coconut cream soup. There were strong notes of lemongrass and a bit of lime flavor, and a spice from chilies. It was really sensational. The flavors were all present, quite strong, almost scents because of their freshness. The lemongrass was a powerful player, and it totally won me over. There wasn’t too much chicken, but the chicken that was there was good. The coconut cream broth they used was really nice, a bit sweet but balanced by the spiciness of the chilies. And the noodles were fantastic. Perfectly prepared, soft and delicious. It was a great meal. The bowl itself was pretty large, and after I got through the noodles and chicken, I had to give up on the broth. There was just too much left. It was filling, and it was brilliant in its simplicity. This is a case where the more basic the ingredients, the more they’re allowed to come out. And you really appreciate it.
My friends also got some awesome looking food, which I (sadly) did not try. One of my friends got the pad Thai, which looked great. Unfortunately, as he was eating, he noticed in his dish a small piece of metal, perhaps from a steel scrubber used in the kitchen to wash dishes. It was definitely not part of the meal, and it appeared to be dangerous to swallow. Luckily he noticed it, but he easily could have missed it. Now this guy has been here many times, and he’s never had this happen to him before, but I feel like I would be lax in my reviewing to not mention it.
All in all, I was pretty happy with this place. The food was great, though I was disappointed in their lack of wings. The prices were good; everyone paid under ten dollars for their food. There was an attempt on my friend’s life, but nobody actually died. And the staff was really nice. I will be going back. And I will be eating wings. Or else somebody will die.
UPDATE: I did end up having the wings!!! YES.
Wings! So they are pretty damn good. Another situation where they are not your standard buffalo wing, obviously, but they are great in their own right. They are fried and were served extremely hot (temperature-wise). The flavor is some wacky Thai something or other, like a spicy teriyaki, in a light glaze. It’s not so much the flavor, though, as the wings themselves that I liked. They were nice big wings, and the meat was tender and delicious, the texture similar to that of a high quality mall chicken (of the non-breaded variety). And if that sounds disgusting to you, you have been reading the wrong blog.