Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Fun Slurping Noodles Slowly at Noodlecat

All of the soggy weather we've had lately in Northeast Ohio has left me hankering for a steaming bowl of noodles. One of the first scenes of my favorite food movie, Tampopo (which is a Noodle Western), begins in the rain. And so, it was perfect timing that Slow Food Northern Ohio decided to offer a slurpilicious dinner on October 13 at Jonathon Sawyer's new Noodlecat restaurant in downtown Cleveland, just around the corner from his delicious Greenhouse Tavern.

We began with a platter of house made pickles, served family style.

Items included pickled onions and green tomatoes, hot Hungarian pepper slices, beets, turnips, slices of Asian vegetable (was it wintermelon or bittermelon?), ginger (my favorite item, at the center of the platter), sliced egg (next to the ginger) and cucumber.

Two more appetizers would be served family style:

Broiled Rice Balls with Market Spices and Mushroom Infusion with Sesame Oil Dipping Sauce

This time-honored Japanese technique for using up yesterday's rice delivered crisp texture, simple but tasty flavors, and a big hit of umami from the mushroom creme dollop up top.

Chickpea-Stuffed Gyoza w/Chef's Garden Vegetables and Soy-Vinegar Dipping Sauce

When Chef Brian Reilly told us that the filling was chickpea, I almost didn't believe him. It was that good.

Bob and I both selected the same entree from the three choices on the menu: Pork Miso Ramen with roasted Ohio pork, miso, scallions and greens.

The noodles, jointly developed by Chef Sawyer and his team and Ohio City Pasta, which handles production, were pretty darn close to  noodles I've enjoyed before in Asia and New York. The broth was deliciously porky but balanced by the miso without being overpowered by it. My only disappointment was that the bowl did not come to the table steaming hot as it should have. But it was still delicious, and I can't wait to return to Noodlecat for another ramen (or udon or soba) fix. 

We also enjoyed the company of other supporters of Slow Food's mission to encourage local and sustainable eating. Joining us at our table was Ed Butdorf, the self described "Director of poultry relations at Happy Chix Farms." Though we have not sampled his products (including chicken, duck and rabbit), I've heard nothing but great things about them - if you are interested in trying them, contact Ed through the Happy Chix Facebook Page and he'll fix you up - he delivers to several Cleveland-area restaurants regularly and will happily meet you on those journeys!

Fun playing with ramen in Cleveland - Noodlecat satisfies the craving.

1 comment:

  1. Wow - those pickles look amazing - even at 8:30am! We've only been to Noodle Cat at lunch, but based on these photos I think a dinner time visit should be placed on the calendar. (The Pork Miso Ramen is my fav!)