If Noodle Love were located anywhere but Congress Street on the West End, I’d probably be going there a couple of nights a week. But ever since all those apartment buildings without parking filled up, and restaurants started springing up everywhere, it’s almost impossible to find parking in that area, even many blocks away, and even on a weekday night in the middle of winter.

The Nooooooods bowl at Noodle Love contains egg noodles, chicken, pork dumplings, baby bok choy, bean sprouts, a soft-boiled egg, and coconut curry broth. Photo by Meredith Goad

I’ll cut this diatribe short, since this is supposed to be about food, and just let you know that you’ll probably have a much easier time buying noodles if you visit this new restaurant for lunch. Or maybe you’re lucky enough to live in one of those apartments.

Noodle Love is located in the former Poke Pop, and the set-up is similar to a poke shop. Behind a long counter is a large selection of ingredients. You can create your own bowl by telling the staff what you want – egg noodles or rice noodles, veggie broth or five-spice pork broth, sesame or kimchi sauce. Start with the noodles and broth or sauce for $5, then add $2 for protein. Choices include braised pork, Sichuan chicken and tofu. (A soft-boiled egg is $1 extra.) Add another $1 each for vegetables (corn, baby bok choy, kimchi, edamame, etc.).

Or you can skip all the decision making and do what I did – order one of the suggested combinations. I got the Nooooooods (that’s 7 o’s) to go for $11 and loved it. The bowl starts with egg noodles and a delicious coconut curry broth. The protein is chicken, but there’s also a soft-boiled egg and three pork dumplings nestled in with the noodles, along with baby bok choy and bean sprouts. Not only is this bowl perfect for a cold winter day, it’s very satisfying. I had it for a mid-afternoon lunch and skipped dinner that night.

Noodle Love has several tables for eating in, but it’s also good for take-out. Photo by Meredith Goad

The coconut curry broth in my bowl had just a hint of heat to it, but not so much that it will turn off people who don’t like a lot of spice. If you want something spicier, try the Bangkok for $9, which is basically a hotter version of the Nooooooods. Kimchi and kimchi jalapeno replace the pork dumplings in the bowl.

Other options include the Hong Kong ($10) with braised pork, pork dumplings, baby bok choy and clear broth. There are seven bowls to choose from in all, ranging in price from $7 to $11. Some bowls are vegan and/or gluten free.

Sides include seaweed salad, pickled daikon and veggie or pork dumplings. A well-stocked cooler of drinks offers lots of choices.

The restaurant has about seven tables inside, with throw pillows strewn around to make the wooden seating more comfortable. There is also some individual counter seating in a corner overlooking Congress Street, where you can watch the world go by while you slurp your noodles. My observation was that most people were coming in for take-out.

Bottom line: This place is a nice addition to an already-crowded food scene. The food is great, the service fast and the prices are very reasonable.


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