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Cheu Noodle Bar – Philadelphia, PA

Cheu Noodle Bar – Philadelphia, PA

As their name implies “Cheu  Noodle Bar” (CNB), noodles are the
name of the game and main attraction for most at CNB. With me
being familiar with Chef Ben Puchowitz and Shawn Darragh’s noodle
endeavors all the way back to Chef Ben’s days cooking at Matyson
when they would have a pop-up restaurant called “Round-Eye Noodle”
every now and again seeking investors, I could tell all the way
back then, that what they were doing with noodles was something
special. Well fast forward a few years. They have a restaurant of
their own, a signed a lease for a second location at the former El
Zarape at 12th and Passyunk and Morris Street intersection, and
Chef Ben is being honored by the James Beard Foundation as a
semi-finalist for “Rising Star Chef of the Year” award.

Opening the door to CNB showed without a shadow of a doubt that
the duo of Chef Ben and Shawn has been a very succesful
combination. Not a seat left in-house, jam-packed from front to
back. Great hip and trendy decor splatters the walls and ceilings,
nice music pumping through the speakers, and a staff that was as
friendly as I have ever seen in a place as busy as CNB was that
day. With my heart set on CNB, I was not deterred from having no
where to sit. I went with plan B, take-out. Having had their
noodles in the past, I decided to go everything but noodles that
day. I started out with the Black Garlic Wings.

cheu wings

The Black Garlic Wings consisted of lightly fried chicken wings
with shishito peppers, lime, and cilantro. At first sight I was a
little taken aback and unsure, but after first bite I was hooked.
They were perfectly balanced in flavor, cooked to perfection with
a nice crisp on the exterior even with all of the sauces applied
while being nice and juicy on the inside. The combination of
spices and sauce really were something special and I highly
recommend you have an order to start any meal at CNB. My main
course would be CNB’s version of Fish and Chips.

cheu fish ribs

cheu fries

The Fish and Chips would be Smoked Fish Ribs and a side of Cheu
Fries topped with miso truffle aioli and fish flakes. I will call
this the Yum and Yummy. The smoked fish ribs worked on so many
levels, even for a certified bbq judge as myself who loves pork
and beef ribs. The skin was extra crispy while the fish was as
tender and soft as biting into a cloud. The glaze on the ribs
worked beautifully giving each bite a wonderful array of tastes
while still being light enough to allow the profile of the fish to
shine. If that was not enough, the fries were amazing. I have
never had such a combination top my fries before and it was
wonderful. The fries were cooked just the way I like them as well. Not
too soft and not too crunchy. Just the right texture and with the
topping of the miso truffle aioli and fish flakes it made them
spectacular.

With CNB specializing in noodles and being able to produce so
extraordinarily with not a single noodle dish in my order, Chef
Ben and Shawn certainly have nothing to stop them from a long and
successful journey in the culinary world. I only hope the
consistency and quality can still be upheld with multiple
locations on the horizon. If this can be done, Chef Ben and Shawn
may be in the same sentences as the Vetri, Garces, Starr and
others who have created Philadelphia to be the great dining
destination it has become to be known globally now. Will the day
ever come that Philadelphia is not synonymous with cheesesteaks
and soft pretzels? I do not think so, but with CNB joining the
crowd we have so many more interesting things to eat and talk
about, and that is always a good thing.

Overall
Four and Half out of Five Stars