The Drunken Noodle in East Grand Forks has been open for about a week and a half and I’ve heard wildly differentiating reviews on the place. A few commenters noted that they had sub-par dishes that lacked flavor while others said they loved it.
I tried the pho on the first night Drunken Noodle was open. If you remember my first review, I came in at 11 and found the place dead, with a few employees sitting at a table having some late dinner. I ordered some take-out and was pretty pleased with the taste of the pho.
But tonight I made my way back to East Grand Forks with an old friend back in town for a few days. He arrived before me, but it looked like he didn’t have trouble getting a table as there were a few open at around 6 p.m. As time went on though, the place filled up nicely.
We both ordered the BBQ Pork Ramen. I asked for it a bit spicy and was asked for a rating from 1 to 10. I got the 6.
About 10-15 minutes later our dishes arrived. Our server unfortunately forgot which one was the spicier of the two, but we quickly found out by tasting the broth. I was happy with the heat of my soup and as I kept eating, I grew more accustomed to it.
The dish comes with a deep brown broth, snow peas, carrots, mushrooms, green onion and a hard-boiled egg, according to the menu. But I couldn’t find any snow peas or mushrooms and there was a healthy portion of leeks floating around. Not a big deal, but the dish should come as advertised.
The vegetables were cooked well, with a healthy crunch to the carrots and green onion. The leeks were tasty and added a bit of welcome bitterness to the soup. The broth was nice and spicy, with a noticeable pork flavor to it.
The “BBQ Pork” was fine, but it could’ve been just a bit more tender. And there wasn’t a whole lot of barbecue taste to it. My hypothesis is that, in an effort to save on cooking time, the meat in all of the dishes is added after the fact. Ideally, the cook should boil the broth and add the meat in to cook with it, resulting in a fresh, tender bite. It is understandable though, because the cooks probably want to ensure the meat is cooked correctly and avoid poisoning anyone.
The noodles were cooked perfectly. And this is not your dorm room ramen that’s dried, wrapped in plastic and sold for all of 20 cents. All of the ingredients in Drunken Noodle’s version combined for a pretty tasty dish.
I would definitely order the ramen again. Next time, I’d like to try the Duck Noodle as I’ve heard good things.
Please share your experiences regarding Drunken Noodle, the good and the bad, in the comments. Is there something I absolutely need to try?