One of the big perks of working in the wine/beverage industry is the homework. Especially when it comes to sampling the great products our clients have to offer. We take a great deal of time and care to insure both our clients and their representative products are of great caliber. Whether it’s in the office, out on the vineyard, or literal home ”work”, tasting is an important part of the job.
Our saké client, SakéOne, based in Forest Grove, Oregon and both domestic craft sake producer as well as importer inspired me to check out the recently opened Lombard Street location of Chubby Noodle, an Asian fusion restaurant in the ever popular Marina neighborhood where I live. We are getting ready to be part of #WineLands at Outside Lands this year where we’ll be featuring a number of sakes including Momokawa organic on draft. The Chubby Noodle, which opened recently has Momokawa on draft, so off I went to check on quality control….someone has to do it.
I read some of the great press Chubby Noodle has received on EaterSF and Urban Daddy, but I have to admit with all the talk of the soft, soft opening I wasn’t expecting to walk in to a packed house - I was impressed to find a wait upon my arrival.
As we waited for a table to open up we grabbed a drink at the bar located at the entrance and immediately ordered a glass of what the restaurant lists as their “Chubby Noodle saké”. Trade secret - this is in fact the Momokawa I’d been hoping to taste from draft. The first thing that hit me was the temperature. From draft, the saké is slightly less chilled than its refrigerated bottled counterparts. The result was lovely – I picked up so much more on the nose and palate. Still cool and fresh, with hints of complex tropical florals and exotic fruits, the temperature allowed the layers of flavor to unfurl in a way that colder sake cannot.
It also proved the perfect complement to our meal. The menu is focused and diverse– with a great variety of flavorful dim sum, pad Thai, ramen and many other offerings. Most dishes are spicy, a touch sweet, and full of flavor. The saké was a perfect accompaniment with its clean, tropical notes, and paired wonderfully with each dish.
We ordered: The chicken dumplings, which come with a spicy dipping sauce. Chow Fun (my favorite!) with rice noodles, duck, cabbage, chili and the tuna poke.
Saké: Chubby Noodle, Junmai Ginjo Organic, Oregon (aka SakéOne Momokawa Organic)
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