Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Everyday Noodles: Noodles with a “Show”

So, confession time… yes, it’s true…I have been to Benihana.  You know, one of those hibachi establishments where you pay a fortune to witness the “showmanship” of some guy throwing a few shrimps at your mouth.  Do yourself a favor; don’t go (even if they did send you a “Free Entrée for Your Birthday” coupon).  Instead, head over to Everyday Noodles in Squirrel Hill.  Here, you can be entertained and eat Taiwanese-style noodles gimmick-free. 

When you enter Everyday Noodles, the first thing you notice, besides the aroma of delicious eats, is the row of cooks/chefs stationed behind a large pane of glass.  While being escorted to your table, you’re very likely to witness (and be totally mesmerized) with a gentleman who is wielding an enormous stretch of dough.  He’ll continuously stretch and pull the dough, making you jump as he slaps it down to the counter from time to time. These cooks are masters at what they do.  Considering the owner, Mike Chen, personally selects cooks from Taipei to visit Pittsburgh to train his employees, it’s no shock to see such expertise.

Once seated, you’ll have to peel your eyes away from the men in the window, to take a gander at the menu.  Paper menus can be found on your table, complete with pencils to mark your dining choices.  You’ll notice that the menu ranges from appetizers to a variety of noodle categories.  For example, you can get your noodles in broth, aka soup, or dry. My favorite noodle soup is the Braised Beef.  The meat was a bit fatty, but it was very tender and flavorful.  I prefer the Noodles with Minced Pork Sauce when ordering from the dry noodle items.  You get the option of trying the thin or wide flour-based noodles (made in-house), or opting for rice noodles. 
Marinated Sliced Beef Shank (Appetizer)
Braised Beef Noodle Soup
Noodles with Minced Pork Sauce ("Dry" Noodles)

There’s no denying that the noodle dishes are amazing, but I have a serious obsession with their dumplings. The steamed pork soup dumplings are what foodies’ dreams are made of: little purses of dough filled with the perfect union of a tender, pork meatball and velvety broth.  Be forewarned though, these lil’ dumplings are equally adorable and dangerous!  If eaten incorrectly, you will scald your tongue and make a mess of yourself… causing those patrons around you to giggle at your tomfoolery. 
Steamed Pork Soup Dumplings
When eating a soup dumpling, you have a couple of choices. 1.) After the dumplings have cooled a bit, dip your dumpling in a mix of soy sauce and vinegar (make sure you get some of the ginger they bring you as well) and then place the whole dumpling in your mouth. 2.) If have no will power to let them cool down, put a dumpling in the spoon they provide you (after you dip it in the sauce).  Then you can hold the dumpling close to your mouth while you bite the top of the dumpling off.  (Some people even suck the broth out at this point.)  Once the steam escapes, eat the rest in one bite.

The potstickers are also a treat for the palate.  We often order the Pork and Vegetable.  When people ask me what potstickers are, I describe it as an Asian pierogie of sorts.  It’s a thin fold of dough filled with meat and vegetables and has a crust on one side where it “stuck to the pot”…get it…potstickers. 
Pork and Vegetable Potstickers
One gripe some folks may have, is that the majority of menu items feature pork or beef.  If you’re a chicken lover, this isn’t the best place for you.  Also, when it’s busy, drink refills are sometimes hard to come by.  Overall, however, Everyday Noodles is anything but “every day”.  On the contrary, dining here is a fun event.  For a reasonable price, you get expertly prepared food and a “show”. 

I give Everyday Noodles: 4/5 forks
Will I return? Absolutely
5875 Forbes Ave.
Pittsburgh, PA 15217

Everyday Noodles on Urbanspoon

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