Lunch Break: Noodle Uchi.

My co-workers are big fans of Sushi Fuku. I see the chopstick wrappers around the lunchroom all the time. Now Sushi Fuku isn’t the only Ting Yen restaurant on Craig Street. Recently, Yen has broadened his horizon and has opened a ramen bar called Noodle Uchi.

img_1082The restaurant is tiny but charming. It’s a tight squeeze to get to the start of the counter during rush hour, but we elbowed our way through. It works assembly line style. You can either select one of the signature dishes or create your bowl in three easy steps.

These type of places get me a little overwhelmed my first few visits, so I selected one of the signature dishes. I went for the first thing I thought sounded good – the number one: The Spicy Umami Miso Ramen soup.

Swimming in miso flavored broth was pork chashu, seasoned egg, green onion, green sprouts, spinach, kimchi, uchi spicy sauce and ramen noodles. The broth was tasty and warm – perfect for a cold Pittsburgh day and it had the right amount of spice.

For a dish made on the spot, it was very pretty. The egg really balanced the flavor and added a great texture. The meal filled my stomach, but without sliding into a food coma.img_1084

Unlike me, my friends got a little more adventurous and made-to-order their lunches. This is how it works:

Step 1 – Choose to make your own steamed buns or one of the three bowl options: Noodle Salad, Noodle Soup, Rice Bowl. Choose the noodle type, broth type or white or brown rice.

Step 2 – Pick your protein. You have the option between chicken chashu, pork chashu, salmon, eel, tempura or keep it vegetarian with baked tofu or zucchini. Don’t hold back and add additional protein for a small up charge.img_1085

Step 3 – Lastly, it’s time for sauce and toppings. Choose between cold or hot sauces, maybe the sweet chili sauce or the hot teriyaki sauce. Next select an unlimited amount of toppings for no extra charge aside from a boiled egg, crunchy onions or seasoned bamboo shoots.

Start at the end of the counter and go step-by-step until you meet the cash register and see your bowl come alive.img_1083

Noodle Uchi also offers several sides. You have miso soup, seaweed salad, shrimp shumai, octopus and several more to choose from. Look closely at the menu, because many items are tagged as organic, gluten-free or vegan. They have something for  everyone.

The store is open and running, but currently, Noodle Uchi does not have its own webpage. For now, their URL leads you to Sushi Fuku, but Noodle Uchi does have a Facebook page that supplies the public with updated info.

Give the new place a try and build a bowl.

Experience Pittsburgh, One Bite at a Time.

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