We needed a remedy to combat our recent case of Tokyo Withdrawal. You see, Tokyo is like an opiate that grips you with an addiction for more… more sushi, more yakitori, more soba. In less than a week, we were hooked. And once we returned to Philadelphia, we were desperate for another taste, another smell, another something that would remind us of Japan’s electric capital.
Luckily, we found one bright light near our house as we stumbled through Tokyo Withdrawal – Cheu Noodle Bar.
Cheu is still BYOB (pending a liquor license), an advantage that allowed us to bring plenty of beer from home. The roughly 30-seat restaurant features an expansive bar and a few small tables – very Japanese.
We were delighted to discover that Cheu’s menu features a blend of both the global and the traditional, a daring spin on noodle dishes from around world with the chef as auteur.
Despite it’s name, Cheu Noodle Bar is not all about noodles.
Food at Cheu Noodle Bar
Our meal began with some solid appetizers. The dumplings du jour featured smoked pork and mushrooms served in chili oil. The crispy fried chicken wings were coated in a complex black garlic and sesame sauce. Our palates were awoken and ready for the noodle courses yet to come.
Then, at last, our noodles arrived. We opted to save the ramen for another visit and sample Cheu’s more creative noodle visions.
Hey! That sure looks like a traditional bowl of Japanese ramen. But look (and taste) closer and you’ll find a gastronomic collage of southern style smoked meat, cabbage pickled kimchi-style and a matzoh ball. This melting pot version of ramen is whimsical yet deliciously spicy – a nifty version of planet earth in a bowl.
As fans of shaved and hand-drawn noodles, we were compelled to try the hand-torn version. It was a bonus that these wide rice noodles were in a dish with braised lamb neck and pickled mustard greens. It was a good choice. Even without the broth featured in the other main dishes, this savory melody of flavors slid easily into our happy bellies.
For dessert, we shared strawberries and cream. This light, seasonal dish satisfied our senses with its clean yet herbaceous flavors.
Cheu Noodle Bar offers a unique twist on the typical Asian noodle joint. The menu is small yet eclectic, and the room feels Asian but with a Philadelphia vibe.
It’s not Tokyo, but it will help cure our case of Tokyo Withdrawal. At least for a while.
Cheu Noodle Bar is located at 255 South 10th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19107.