Before Sheldon Simeon took home the title of Top Chef, he was the executive chef of Star Noodle. I’m not sure if the place was as popular before or after his win, but it has 2679 reviews on Yelp averaging 4 stars now. That’s pretty stellar. In any case, multiple friends have tried this place in the wake of his win and have told me it is not worth a visit. I was gonna skip the place all together, but The Keeper heard great things and wanted to give it a shot.
Of course The Keeper is gonna have her opinion about the kimchi (being Korean), which she prefers less pickled. The Flatulent Snorer and I like it more ripe, but definitely not bubbling. I actually quite enjoyed the kimchi, not too sour, sweet, salty, stinky. Pretty tasty, but can obviously be skipped.
Here we go again. I’m not even going to comment anymore.
Steamed Pork Buns duroc pressed pork, hoisin, shitake, cucumber
Just ok. Bun could have been better. Filling was not that memorable. At least the pork wasn’t insanely fatty.
Good shrimps. Crispy and light battering.
I was actually really pleasantly surprised here. It was very homey. The pork belly was rendered to a lovely crispness. The runny egg added another layer of lusciousness. The tomatoes and onions added fragrance and texture. I really liked this even though it was so simple. Definitely order it.
I was wary of ordering this because its often not good even when Vietnamese people make it. I’m not sure who is helming the kitchen since Sheldon left, but what did he know about Vietnamese food. The problem with banh xèo, is the crepe part has to be the right texture, thickness, and crispiness. It was too chewy here. It’s also a pain to share because you have to break it into pieces. The filling had more protein which was a plus. Anyways, you can skip this one.
Not something I would have thought to order, but also another surprise winner.
I loved the wafu dashi, but damn was it salty! I was not entirely sure how this was supposed to be eaten, but after I popped the scallop in my mouth I sipped the dashi like soup. It was so flavorful but probably needed to be diluted. Or maybe I wasn’t supposed to drink it after eating the scallop. Tasty!
So now the noodles are supposed to be the main attraction here right? I know why friends have not given their stamps of approval for Star Noodle.
Fried Saimin kamaboko, spam, egg, bean sprouts, scallions
I’ve never heard of saimin before, but I guess it’s a wheat egg noodle with pan Asian influences. I guess its closest in texture to your standard Chinese egg noodle, like that found in wonton soups, but a little softer. I didn’t like the texture to start. I didn’t think the flavors or proteins were very interesting, but I guess it’s very Hawaiian.
Lahaina Fried Soup fat chow funn, ground pork, bean sprouts
I wanted to stay away from the gobs of carbs here, because I know most people can eat only a few bites. There was something just a bit off with the texture here too. Maybe not soft enough? I appreciated more wok hey here, which I enjoyed.
Ramen is such a hard thing to make outstanding. It usually comes down to the soup, first, and the noodles, second. The broth just lacked oomph. I’m not surprised that a place, whose sole focus is not ramen, failed to deliver a great bowl of ramen. The noodles also tasted wrong. Either I got to them too late, and they became water logged and mushy, or they were just the wrong noodles for Japanese ramen. I’m leaning toward the latter.
Totally not good. I knew this was not going to be good.
This was the most successful of all the noodles. The broth was probably the same base used for the napa ramen, but the noodles were actually udon noodles of the right texture.
More of these saimin noodles I didn’t really take to. The broth was good, but couldn’t make up for everything else.
8 – Very good