Cary’s latest ramen spot Noodle Blvd has only been open a paltry two months, but the little noodle eatery is already worth a visit. The inside seating situation is spare, especially if you arrive with a large party of more than two, but if you’re lucky enough to snag a seat at one of two bars or one of the quartet of colorful tables and chairs, you’ll be in for a treat.
The menu at Noodle Blvd is short and to the point, with a handful of appetizers, ten bowls of ramen, and three rice bowl entrees from which to select. Among the more traditional Japanese ramen varieties to choose from are shoyu, miso and tonkotsu. Noodle Blvd also offers more non-traditional ramen, pulling influences from Thailand and Korea that include a spicy seafood kimchi ramen (like a jam pong) and a Chicken Curry ramen. Prices for the ramen range from $10-$13.
The beef noodle ramen, which closely resembles something like a Taiwanese beef noodle soup, comes in an ample portion, topped with scallions, bok choy, bamboo shoots and chunks of braised beef shank. The noodles, bouncy and light, are slightly more gossamer than I prefer (I enjoy a more chewy glutinous noodle), but they work well in the aromatic broth that has a pleasant, light hint of star anise flavor. Many noodle places can get heavy-handed when salting the broth, but at Noodle Blvd, it stays right where it needs to be. The hearty chunks of braised beef shanks are so tender that they nearly dissolve when they hit the tongue. There’s a reason why I covet braised beef noodle soup, and why I think it’s one of my top comfort foods.
Though ambitious, the tonkotsu at Noodle Blvd may fall a bit flat compared to other ramen-yas, but since there are hardly any dedicated ramen parlors in the Triangle outside of Dashi in Durham (definitely no comparison to Mensho in San Francisco or Totto in NYC), it’s a decent entry into the field. The pork broth, though delicious, lacked the depth in sublime, unctuous flavor and the milkiness that you typically would pine for in a well-executed pork bone broth that’s been simmering for hours. Topped with corn, bean sprouts, bok choy, scallions and seaweed, it’s a gallant effort, though the marinated pork round was also a bit sinewy to tear into, even with the aid of chopsticks.
Others have exalted Noodle Boulevard for its Chicken Curry ramen, so perhaps that may be the better choice for next time. The fried tofu is also delightful—crispy on the outside, and wonderful to dip in the soy sauce bath. Service on the night that my dining partner and I dropped in was a one-woman show, so expect it to be on the slow side, though amiable and eager to accommodate.
NOODLE BLVD | 919 N. Harrison Avenue Cary NC 27513 | 919.678.1199