While we were downtown for the big light show a couple weeks back, we stopped to have dinner at Noodlecat. With the kids, which is always an adventure (which is why it doesn’t happen often). If we take them someplace, it either has to be noisy or outside; fortunately, we were able to snag a patio spot.
Noodlecat is Jonathon Sawyer’s revamped vision of a traditional Japanese noodle house, sprinkled with a little Cleveland flair. It highlights some traditional and some more modern takes on a number of noodle dishes, featuring soba, udon, and ramen locally produced at Ohio City Pasta. With options like Smoked Brisket Ramen and Tomato Coconut Curry Udon, there should be an option to fit anyone’s taste (with vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free options in abundance). And they even have a kids’ menu that doesn’t consist of hamburger, hot dog, or chicken fingers (smaller versions of noodles or steam buns)!
We split a couple steam buns, one with fresh tomato and lemon aioli and one a brisket and mayo version. They were each good, but at $3 a pop ($2 each during happy hour), maybe a bit pricey for what we got. An option to mix and match, perhaps two for $5 or three for $7, might make a nice addition to the menu.
S tried the Dan Dan Ramen, a mix of noodles and roasted peanut, soy sauce, basil, and Thai chili. Nice peanut flavor, kind of sticky (no broth in this one), and definitely a little zing to it. Since it’s summer, I opted for the Hokkaido Ramen, which came with roasted pork, corn cob, and scallion in a delicate corn broth. Could have used a little more pork, but the flavors were delicious. Just to be clear, this is not the ramen that you ate when you were in college.
The verdict: Noodlecat earns 5 stars out of 7. The food is nothing fancy (nor does it pretend to be) but very tasty, service was fine (and helped accommodate C), and prices won’t break the bank (main dishes are $11-14).