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Mar 2, 2009 09:58 AM

Happy Noodle House in Boulder, CO?

Anyone try it yet? I'm going tomorrow night.

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    1. re: LurkerDan

      Me too. I expect to go nest week. I live nearby and popped in to take a look. It's clean-lined (almost Zen-like), with long wooden benches and tables for congeniality. All interior traces of DiNapoli have been erased. The menu looks interesting too.

      BTW, Melissa Harrison, who was a "Top Chef" competitor this season and had been sous-chef at Centro, is now sous at the noodles-plus place. Same ownership. Same downtown Boulder neighborhood.

      1. re: LurkerDan

        So I ate there last night and I agree mostly with the previously posted tepid review.

        The communal seating is fun in theory - we chatted with strangers sitting next to us and it was fun and social, but unlike a tepenaki where you have fun with strangers, you're all getting served at different times, so our neighbors were dying watching us eat (and we felt kind of bad, it's like in a restaurant when part of your party gets served first and the rest are waiting hungrily).

        The service was kind of poor. Long waits for our drinks (a beer and a froufrou cocktail from their menu) and my drink - the Crazy 88 - was good, but extremely small for $9. Smaller than a martini small.

        The place was noisy and very busy for a Tuesday night, but beautiful. Nice lighting, cool lounge area by the bar (good place to chill if it was less busy I imagine) and just clean lines everywhere.

        We started with their kimchi and pickle platter. The kimchi was medicore at best, but the pickle platter was fantastic. Traditional cucumbers, kimchi green beans (these had tons of flavor, I couldn't understand how the plain kimchi was so boring), tart daikon pickles and pickled carrots. Everything was delicious and we cleaned our plate.

        I had the beef pho and my sister had the duck curry udon. My pho was extremely bland, the meat was sliced thick and wasn't very good quality (texture of pot roast!) and the vegetables were almost raw. I put some sriacha and soy into the broth to try and give it some flavor.

        My sister's udon was fantastic though - we both pretty much ate hers. Really good noodles, the duck leg was moist and super super tender, the flavor of the curry wasn't overpowering and the crispy mushrooms were to DIE for.

        Our check, with tax and a $8 tip was $60 even. I felt like I could have easily gotten a meal just as good in a more comfortable setting for half that price elsewhere, or even better takeout. Good, but not great, and I doubt I'll go back.

        1. re: reubensandperrier

          Wow, you need to tell us all about the full service (even with poor service) restaurants where you can get a beer, a cocktail, two appetizers and two entrees for $30 including tax and a 15% tip. There aren't many down Denver way.

          1. re: Pastajohn

            It's a reasonably priced noodle house, not fine dining. I could easily go to any number of bars/pubs/restaurants and have an appetizer, a drink and an "entree" for $30. In the asian category, Chez Thuy, and in the downtown area, The Med, Corner Bar, Walnut Brewery, the West End to name a few.

            I think reubensandperrier's criticism was not with the prices, but rather with the food.

            1. re: Pastajohn

              Pastajohn - You and Mee noodle house has far better (and cheaper) pho and noodle bowls. You can easily eat there for $30-40 for 2 people, with everything I mentioned.

              And thank you LurkerDan - I was simply trying to say I was unsatisifed with the quality of the food for the price I paid.

              1. re: reubensandperrier

                I found it a little too sleek, loud, uncomfortable (between the backless stools and sitting right by the door on a cold day), and the happy hour food we sampled (lacquered fatty lamb pops, trail mix, and veggie bun) was okay but didn't inspire my daughter to want dinner there, nor me to insist we stay. I liked their variation on a sling -- seemed like the best happy hour value. I agree with the comments about seeing everyone around you getting food when you are waiting -- not the best part of communal dining! I'll give it another try again when they have more seating options and the weather is warmer, or hope they create a little vestibule to protect their patrons from the frequent blasts of cold air.