The wait is over.
Drunken Noodle over on the East Grand Forks boardwalk opened Wednesday. After “cxtina” commented on my previous post that it was indeed open, I had to run over there and get some food to go.
Here’s what she (I’m assuming) said:
Drunken Noodle opened today and IT WAS GOOD. as an Asian who grew up in an area with a diverse population of ethnicities within the Asian culture, Drunken Noodle (asian food-wise) is SPOT-ON. The pho was excellent (a little on the sweet side) but used fresh bean sprouts, the correct rice noodles, basil, onion, broth, etc.
The place opened with little, if any, fanfare. But it takes the place of den-of-all-evil Applebee’s next to Whitey’s, Mike’s Pizza, Boardwalk Bar and Grill and the Blue Moose.
When I went to the Drunken Noodle on Wednesday night, it was nearing 11 p.m. and it was completely dead save for some employees and one of the co-owners having drinks and dinner near the bar. But I chatted a bit with the co-owner and some of the employees and they said there were some people waiting when they opened at 5 p.m., and it was hit and miss as for a steady traffic flow through the place.
That can only be because people have yet to be informed that it is open. I expect it to be packed.
The co-owner told me though that they’ll be open until about midnight so I was a bit dismayed at that. I thought it would be like the Fargo location that’s open until 3 a.m. Friday and Saturday but I think there’s a stipulation that, if a restaurant serves alcohol, they can only be open until a certain time.
I took up a spot at the bar and ordered the Pho to go along with a Blue Moon to enjoy while the dish was being put together. By the way, it’s pronounced “fuhh” not “fho,” but I’m sure they’ll understand what you’re trying to say.
The service was quick and friendly. I had my beer in seconds and my container of pho arrived in under 10 minutes.
I sped home and unwrapped the container and my kitchen was instantly filled with the aroma of the noodle soup. The portion was huge, probably enough for 2. And it was piping even after the 10 minute drive.
The soup was sort of stacked in the container with noodles first, bean sprouts, green onions, big chunks of white onions, a few meatballs and some slices of beef. The whole combination tasted great. It would be the perfect antidote to a cold winter day.
I did find the beef to be just a slight tough. But the sprouts and onions stayed crisp and the rice noodles were cooked well. In any pho, it’s all about the broth and this one delivered. It was a deep brown color and had a bit of spice. The heat of the spice was spot-on, with just enough to tingle your lips.
Now I’m no pho connoisseur, but I found there to be just a bit too much of the cinnamon/cloves/ginger flavor in the broth. I’m not sure what of those ingredients were used, but they’re included in a classic pho recipe. I’m nit-picking here. I would definitely order it again.
The place has been remodeled with a stage for karaoke or acoustic performances, an area for what looked to be a dance floor, and pretty good sized bar and seating past the bar and around the dance floor near the bar. The restaurant is spacious and there’s tasteful dim lighting throughout.
As with the Applebee’s in the same location, there’s a wonky entrance if you’re coming from the River Cinema 15 side. You have to go through a long hallway and your only hints to what exactly is in the building are a few signs lit badly. If you check the place out, park near the river and the entrance is easier to find.
So now there’s yet another option for some different dining in Grand Forks and East Grand Forks. I’ll be coming back to the “Noodle,” and hope you’ll check it out and let me know what you think.