The cover story to the recent Seattle Magazine is dedicated to Cheap Eats. With a focus on dinner for under $20 and lunch for under $10, it highlights a ton of places to get more bang for your dining buck. There is a little section for good deals in the International District and the determined folks at MSG150 listed out their faves, with Szechuan Noodle Bowl being one of them. Armed with this knowledge we headed out and gave Szechuan Noodle Bowl a shot.
At the intersection of Eighth and King, Szechuan Noodle Bowl has a modest little storefront with a yellow sign up top. Just looking at it from the outside, it’s similar to most of the places in the ID; straightforward and without pretense, most people would walk by it. Heck, I would if it wasn’t for the shoutout in Seattle mag. Stepping inside the place is modest and quaint with about eight tables and enough space to sit about 20 people.
The noodle soups are the way to go. And they are super tasty. What’s makes it great is they are under six bucks each. Holla. The soups have a ton of mouthfeel, strong beef notes, but still on the lighter side, and not at all heavy. We had the Original and the Szechuan. Chief difference with the Szechuan is that it had a brown broth with a bit more heat and spice to it. This spicyness typifies Szechuan cuisine and has a nice little kick. The bok choy that comes with it is super fresh and makes you feel better for having your vegetables. You get a few chunks of beef that are meltingly tender too. Good stuff.
And the noodles in the noodle soup? Awesome! Large and similar to udon, they are a good size and have a good chew to them. The size is nice because they help absorb the flavor of the broth and have a tasty beefiness to them. I ate my entire bowl vigorously.
We also had the pork and chive dumplings. Our server asked us if we wanted them hot & spicy – of course we will! They come to the table steaming hot, so be careful. My tip; let them hang out for a minute or three. This time will let them absorb some of the hot and spicy liquid they are swimming in, which has good notes of vinegar and provides a nice bite to complement the dumplings. And you get ten for under six bucks!
I haven’t always loved soup, but in a city like ours, with options galore, from pho to tom yum, chowder, cioppino, ramen and noodle soup, I can now change my tune. I love soup and places like Szechuan Noodle Bowl help deepen this appreciation for the simple but perfect execution of broth and ingredients called soup.