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February 11, 2005

Noodle Heaven

1Joesnoodlestorefront.jpg For the longest time, there were discussions on Chowhound that consisted almost entirely of number and letter combinations. "Have you tried A36, J19, or M22?" one would write. Another poster would reply, "No, but A22 is to die for."

Back when I was a city-dweller, the call letters always intrigued me. They refer to menu items at Joe's Noodle House, a spectaular chinese noodle house in the lovely suburb of Rockville. Once I became a (albeit temporary) suburbanite, I consoled myself with the knowledge that I would now be close to the infamous noodle house and could partake in its fully noodle glory.

And it has yet to disappoint. I've visited several times before, including once with rj3, but hadn't been back in months. So after shopping at our local suburban chinese market, when zaf and I had a noodle craving, we headed over to Joe's.

Joe's has a setup that is unusual in the U.S. You order at the cash register in the back of the restaurant and then your food and drinks are brought to you by servers. But, it's not fast food style -- if, as with our visit, the restaurant is busy, you are greeted at the front door by a host(ess) who makes you wait for an available table. Once a table is free, you are directed to the counter, order your meals, and then claim your already reserved table. It makes for a sightly confusing and hectic ordering process, but given the food, who cares?

Zaf and I shared two dishes. Mine was R27: Beef Chow-Fun, a wide rice noodle with beef and a fantastic sauce. The noodles are either made onsite or have never seen a freezer in their lives. Regardless, they're stunning, and the chow fun noodles beat even my perennial favorite, Chinatown Express. The beef itself was excellently flavored, but unfortunately the quality was lower than expected. Zaf had N17: Beef Noodle Soup, a gigantic bowl of soup broth, beef squares, and thin noodles. The soup base and the noodles were again fanastic, perfectly spiced and very smooth. I swear they infused the noodles with cocaine of some type, as I couldn't stop eating them. Again, the beef was less then spectacular, but the noodles more than made up for it.

Recommendation: Get noodle dishes for the noodles and savor the noodles. The meat is just a bonus, anyway.

The entire menu of alphanumeric combinations is available here. Don't salivate too much.

Joe's Noodle House | 1488-C Rockville Pike | Rockville, MD 20852 | (301) 881 - 5518 |

Posted by amg at February 11, 2005 4:17 PM


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ooh, thanks for the report! i am dangerously addicted to noodles of all kinds and ordering in number-letter combinations sounds like all sorts of fun. almost like playing battleship but less boring and with a better payoff. the first time i had fresh noodles was at momofuku in ny and it was perfection (also highly recommended for their pork buns and cute chefs behind the counter).

Posted by: ljk at February 11, 2005 5:27 PM

Lord Jeebus!!!

I went there on Saturday. We had a group of seven adventurous eaters, so we decided to order things we've never had before.

I would have to say that everything was very good. Some better than others. Loved the cod in a soupy sauce. Hated the Beef with bitter melon.

One thing to look out for - things with a "*". Being the culturally sensitive person that I am, I read the key as "Num-bing." My chinese friend mistakenly translated it as "sesame." F32 was great, until my mouth went numb, like I just had five shots of novacaine.

After we figured out what the story was, we all had a nice laugh and continued eating. That is except for me. The numbing sensation really put me off, which is unfortunate because the food was really good.

Posted by: Jason at February 14, 2005 9:25 AM

thanks for the report. did you go on our recommendation or were you headed there anyway?

Posted by: amg at February 14, 2005 12:09 PM

Totally coincidental. When we arrived I got this Deja vu feeling and didn't realize it til this morning when I read DCFUD today.

Posted by: Jason at February 14, 2005 3:52 PM

Ventured out to Joe's on Saturday, and asides from vaguely questionable service, I declare it a rousing success. While I was pleased with my drunken noodles, I confess coveting of my cohort's pad thai. Not a complicated dish, but mmmmm, a tasty one. We also split the dumplings, and didn't regret them either.

Posted by: PMMJ at February 15, 2005 10:41 AM


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February 11, 2005