Almost always, one of two means are used in selecting the next spot upon which to grace my wobbly prose: either word of mouth, or spur-of-the-moment curiosity. Working in the restaurant industry myself, I’m constantly fielding a steady stream of recommendations from cooks, bartenders, servers, etc., not to mention customers at my bar or my tables who always like to try and one-up an industry professional with their cutting-edge knowledge of the S.F feed scene. Since it’s chancier wandering into some rickety old shack that sells what’s purported to be an authentic representation of, say, Cypriot street food purely on a whim, I decided to opt for word-of-mouth.
I followed a coworker’s advice and went to So Noodles. It sits on a dusty corner of Bryant and Eighth Streets, within smelling distance of the freeway. Open continuously from 11am to 9pm, the menu is as generous as the hours, divided up neatly into appetizers (sizable portions however, dim sum style), sauce noodles, soup noodles, rice dishes, and finally a selection of beer and unexpectedly good sake. The food was described as being a mishmash of Chinese and Korean. I was inclined to take their word for it.
I decided to again trust my coworker and put my chips down on his favorite, the Black Bean Noodles, which, in addition to the eponymous sauce, was enriched with medium-sized whole shrimp, pork and calamari. The noodles, I was told, are made of wheat and hand-pulled in the back. Their texture indicated that they’d been boiled just right; not too mushy and not overly al dente. In addition I added some very, very crispy shrimp-chive-garlic dumplings accompanied by a dark red sesame oil dip. Both were very good, although I think I’ll go back with a starving legion of food whores to try a few more items, such as the Peanut Sauce Noodles, Pork with Mustard Greens, and puzzlingly named Dirty Dastard. According to the waiter, the chef learned most of his skills from mom. I can’t think of a better reason to make a return trip to this dusty neck of Soma.
1010 Bryant Street (@ 8th Street)
[South of Market]