Cheu Noodle Bar

By Phyllis Stein-Novack
Add Comment Add Comment | Comments: 14 | Posted Oct. 17, 2013

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The title food at Cheu Noodle Bar offers many worthwhile complementary dishes for those looking to experience quality Asian cuisine.

Photo by Kathryn Poole

I read an article on the Internet a while ago on how certain colors can affect one’s appetite. Red seems to be the one that will make a tummy growl and a mouth water with anticipation.

It also is the color of celebration in Asian countries. People insert gifts of money in a lucky red envelope trimmed with gold. Ironically, red is my favorite color.

I immediately got big eyes as I stepped into Cheu Noodle Bar in Center City. It is a casual place with a long bar where one can watch the chefs make magic with their woks, along with a window banquette and a high-top table in the back.

The tin ceiling and back wall are both painted a bright lipstick red. A multi-colored mural graces another wall. Music on the sound system ran the gamut from Simon & Garfunkel to Crosby, Stills & Nash to rap and hip-hop.

House wines by the glass ($5) were a downright bargain. I sipped a grassy Sauvignon Blanc ($8.50) from Chile while Edward opted for Blue Coat on the rocks with a twist ($7).

The friendly staff keeps the momentum going like a summer breeze. From the small plates, we selected a pork belly slider ($2.50), dumplings of the day ($5), broccoli with Vietnamese sausage and peanuts ($8) and octopus ($10).

Pork belly must be braised a long time for it to be tender. This one was, and I especially liked the homemade kimchee pickle on top as it added a spicy kick. Imagine what might happen if a pierogi met a pork dumpling and had an offspring. Four round dumplings were filled with seasoned mashed potatoes and tender pork and served in chili oil. It produced a party in my mouth.

A fine contrast of flavors and textures was evident in the broccoli appetizer. A good-size bowl of steamed broccoli florets was tossed with bits of Vietnamese sausage, topped with chopped peanuts and bathed in a light and not-at-all-salty soy sauce. Beef and broccoli is a standard dish in many Asian restaurants, but the use of sausage was an unusual and tasty twist.

The entrees are noodle bowls that patrons slurp with delight. I’ve enjoyed wonton noodle soup with bok choy with either pork or duck in a number of Chinese and Vietnamese restaurants. But creativity and imagination are the highlight at Cheu Noodle Bar when it comes to the art of making soup.

We tucked into two different big bowls. One was brisket ($13) and the other duck pho ($14).

Brisket is one tough piece of meat that must cook in liquid for at least four hours to come out fork, or should I say, chopstick tender. The squares of meat melted in my mouth. The big surprise was a fluffy matzo ball, which needed a hint of salt. The base for the chili broth was Korean-inspired. It packed an even punch of spice, but was certainly not four-alarm. Kimchee, bean sprouts, a hint of sesame and long, thin egg noodles kept me quite happy. I used my chopsticks to separate the noodles and slurped them with delight.

The flavor of the duck pho was quite different. Fresh lime juice imparted a marvelous sour flavor that enhanced slivers of duck, very tender foie meatballs and rice noodles. The portions were so generous, some soup was packed to go for the next day’s lunch.

The only disappointing dish was the octopus ($10). Although it had a fine consistency, it needed some char on the outside. I also found the sauce a little sweet.

Service moves along at a good pace. Two women were in charge of the woks and sauté pans, expertly filling orders as the tickets came in. Several servers kept everyone happy as they slurped along in the bright red room.

The restaurant is open for lunch and dinner.

Three tips of the toque to Cheu Noodle Bar.

Cheu Noodle Bar

255 S. 10th St.

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Comments 1 - 14 of 14
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1. Jermaine said... on Oct 17, 2013 at 01:46PM

“Please do some reviews of Point Breeze restaurants. Are you prejudiced against the people who live there?”

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2. Ang said... on Oct 17, 2013 at 02:08PM

“Jermaine, it seems that she is prejudiced to reviewing restaurants in South Philly at all, even though the paper she is writing for is the SOUTH PHILLY review. Maybe you could tell me, what are some good restaurants in Point Breeze that you could recommend?

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3. Jermaine said... on Oct 17, 2013 at 03:47PM

“Well Ang, I'm tempted to try the old Wander Inn, now reincarnated as the American Sardine Bar. Not for the faint-hearted, but overall good non-pro reviews in Yelp:

Now, will the South Philly Review step up and tell us more about the food there? Or is it in the, uh, wrong neighborhood?”

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4. Jermaine said... on Oct 17, 2013 at 08:34PM

“Point Breeze, for starters:
American Sardine Bar, 1801 Federal
Hardena (Indonesian), 1754 S. Hicks
South Phila Tap Room, 1509 Mifflin”

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5. Marty Medals said... on Oct 18, 2013 at 08:07AM

“Maybe the Chestnut Hill Local will review a few South Philly Restaurants. Maybe the Metro Chinese Weekly will, or the Sprit New in Fishtown, or the University City Review.

I know for sure that I can not count on the SPR to tell me what's going on in South Philly regarding places to eat.”

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6. Ang said... on Oct 18, 2013 at 08:42AM

“Thank you Jermaine. I think I would probably skip the Sardine place. But I have heard many good things about South Phila Tap Room they were actually on Diners, Drive ins and Dives. I have never had Indonesian food, but have been trying to go out of my comfort zone so trying Hardena is a possibility also. Now if I could only get a review in my local paper for one of these establishments!?!?!
P.S. Thank you Jermaine”

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7. Phyllis Stein-Novack said... on Oct 18, 2013 at 11:55AM

“Dear Jermaine & Ang:

I have reviewed American Sardine Bar and South Phila Tap Room. I enjoyed both of them very much especially South Phila Tap Room. I have returned several times just to enjoy the fine food and drink.

Thank you about Hardena. I have not heard of it but it is now on my list.”

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8. Marty Medals said... on Oct 19, 2013 at 01:30PM

Since you seem to be searching for new experiences please allow me to suggest that our reviewer consider the following:
Barrel's Fine Food ; Cafe Con Chocolate; Trattoria Core de Roma;
Dante & Luigi's; Fitzwater Cafe; Franco's High Note Cafe.

All of the above are in the SPR delivery area.
Thank you.

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9. Copy Editor said... on Oct 21, 2013 at 09:00AM

“How is red being your favorite color ironic?”

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10. Lindy Backues said... on Oct 21, 2013 at 09:51AM

“Hardena is also called Waroeng Suroboyo (waroeng or warung means kiosk in Indonesian; Suroboyo is the Javanese way of saying the Indonesian city of Surabaya, which is in East Java.)”

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11. will said... on Oct 28, 2013 at 04:14PM

“good review”

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12. ParkerSmith said... on Apr 14, 2014 at 02:32AM

“Loved to read your blog. I would like to suggest you that traffic show most people read blogs on Mondays. So it should encourage blogger to write new write ups over the weekend primarily

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13. ParkerSmith said... on Apr 15, 2014 at 06:34AM

“Flavor of the duck pho at your bar seems to be tempting. I would love to taste it upon my visit there.

Singapore chinese restaurant and bar

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14. Edwards Collins said... on Jul 4, 2014 at 05:29AM

“Colors can affect an appetitie only for those who are gullible. Normal, hungry people eat food regardless.

Tapas restaurant Singapore


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