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Category Archives: Cheu Noodle

Business Lunch

Working in Center City leaves you all kinds of options for lunch: fast food, fast casual, food carts, your office vending machine. But sometimes you just need a nice, relaxing sit down spot that isn’t the cafeteria or your desk. Matyson is certainly a place that fits the bill: small, upscale, and there’s no bar (It’s a BYOB) so you don’t have to explain to your boss why you’ve come back to the office smelling like a brewery. I chose Matyson for several reasons: 1) proximity to my office (a whole two blocks away!), 2) owned and operated by the same awesome team behind Cheu Noodle Bar and 3) They had a $10 burger on their lunch menu. The Matyson Burger comes topped with lettuce and tomato, but you can accessorize however you please for a few shekels more (I added cheddar to my burger for a buck), and it is paired with fries or a salad (or Parmesan truffle fries for only $2 more). When I walked inside, I was instantly hit with that sweet truffle oil smell, so clearly, I had to go with the truffle fries.

The burger came out fairly quickly, a must for us business types with limited lunch hours. The bun was a buttery brioche style, housing a fairly large patty underneath. Temperature wise, the burger was cooked medium as requested, although I prefer a little bit more of a pink center (The meat used seemed very similar to the mix that comprised Cheu’s Ramen Burger over the summer). Crisp lettuce, a nice sized tomato slice (hidden beneath the bun in the above pic) and a little sprinkle of salt & pepper gave it a very fresh taste; it was very similar to the way I cook my own burgers at home. Definitely a solid burger choice if you’re lunching downtown, and a great place to bring co-workers and business associates if it’s a “working lunch”; just make sure you tip well on the company tab!

Burger rating: “B+”

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Feeding Frenzy

Unless you’ve been living under a rock this past Summer (which is entirely possible, and I’m not here to judge), the Ramen Burger has been sweeping the food scene coast to coast. Yes, a burger sandwiched between two “buns” made from what you ate that entire last semester of college because you ran out of money for groceries. And who better to bring the trend to Philly than the awesome gang over at Cheu Noodle Bar! For one night only, the noodle joint was cranking out McD’s inspired versions of the hot, new food craze, including a Tonkatsu (fried chicken) patty and their own Cheu-ized version of the Filet O’ Fish.

I might be more inclined to eat at a fast food place if I could request to “combo that jawn”.

All the ramen buns were being fried up on the fly, so naturally there was a bit of a wait. But that’s what we’re all here for, right?

Since the pop-up started at 6, I decided to try and get there as early as possible in case a line started to form. 5:30 – no one was there yet, so I felt a little weird just hanging around outside by myself and sat across the street in a park like a creeper, keeping an eye out. Finally, a small group started to gather around 5:45 and at 5:57, we were allowed inside. I took a seat at the counter, I placed my order, and by some miracle of the Ramen Burger gods (or maybe just the fact that I was one of the few solo diners), I got served the very first ramen burger of the night!

View from the top: The noodles look so cool!

The burger looked AMAZING! The ramen bun held together well enough after the first bite, but began to unravel as I continued eating. It was messy, but probably the best kind of messy you could ask for. The burger itself was delicious and juicy, cooked perfectly medium. The homemade “special sauce” gave it a nice flavor. And while I don’t normally care for raw onions, they were just thin enough that the taste didn’t bother me. Plus, how can you have a “Big Mac” without the onions? The fries were garnished with some bonito flakes; they were supposed to have been drizzled with a miso truffle sauce, but I didn’t mind since I prefer to dip then to have something coating my fries (plus I just dipped them in the leftover special sauce).

Ramen Burger cross-section: So many layers!

An older gentleman was seated next to me at the counter and had actually wandered into the pop-up purely by accident. He had heard it was a noodle place, so he was surprised by the strange burger happenings of the evening. I told him about what was going on, and that he should brag to all his friends tomorrow that he went to one of the hottest food events of the year. His Filet O’ Fish on ramen bun was arriving just as I was leaving, so I hope he enjoyed himself! I heard they ran out of food just around 9 o’clock, which is not surprising at all judging by the crowd of people waiting outside when I left. As for the ramen burger itself, I’m not sure if it would be something that I would eat regularly, but it was definitely fun to try.

So what’s next for whacky food concoctions that cause people to wait in ridiculous long lines for hours on end? Will someone put a cronut between two ramen buns? Guess we’ll just have to wait and see!

Cheu Carefully

What’s that? You haven’t been to Cheu Noodle Bar yet? Well what are you waiting for!? Ever since their noodle pop-ups at Matyson last spring (and their previously controversial name), there’s been much buzz around Ben Puchowitz & Shawn Darragh’s Asian inspired cuisine. And now that they’ve finally secured their own brick & mortar spot, the only thing you have to worry about is beating the crowds to get there.

I stopped in on a Friday night around 7 and snagged a spot at the counter where you can see the chefs doing their thang, listen to funky fresh beats and check out the dope art lining the walls; this certainly isn’t your typical ramen spot, that’s for sure. I was waiting for a friend so I figured I’d get some appetizers in advance and promptly ordered up some pork belly dumplings that were on special, BBQ pig tails and some pork belly & cheeseburger buns to start, plus a bowl of ramen since it was a little bit chilly out. Everything came out quickly and was delicious – and good thing my friend didn’t show up right away because I’m not sure that I would have been willing to share!

BBQ Pig tails: fall off the bone delicious!

Pork belly dumplings in chili oil: because you can never get enough pork.

I don’t want none unless they got buns, hon.

Ramen: The broth was nice and rich. Bet it’s even better on cold days, too!

The menu is ever changing, with lots of weekly specials in addition to their small plates and noodle offerings. So bring a friend or two (or three), some beers (it’s BYOB) and head over to Cheu to order practically everything on the menu. Or check out their new lunch menu starting TODAY! (6/5) and every day (except Tuesdays) from 12-2 PM. Trust me, it’s worth it.

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