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Jan 22, 2018
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Posts Tagged ‘Nudo House’

Best New Restaurants: No. 5 – Nudo House

Friday, December 1st, 2017

To be the best, everything matters – atmosphere, service and food. Here are St. Louis’ 12 best new restaurants of 2017.

 

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Nudo House, the noodle shop from Mai Lee’s Qui Tran and Marie-Anne Velasco, was years in the making. When instant gratification is the norm – we want what we want, and we want it yesterday – it’s nice to be reminded that some things are worth the wait.

Unlike the voluminous menus found at many Asian restaurants, Nudo keeps things simple with a handful of cold apps like spring rolls and kimchi, vegetables sides and two bahn mi variations. Four versions of pho, the Vietnamese noodle soup Tran’s Mai Lee is famous for, are also on the menu.

 

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But the star of the show at Nudo is the ramen, the traditional Japanese noodle dish that inspires untold obsessive devotion in so many diners. In those seeming eons of R&D, Tran and Velasco delved headfirst into the world of ramen, sampling versions from across the country and hosting pop-ups around town to keep up interest.

At Nudo, there are four different versions that build on the basics, melding tradition with a distinctive creative bent. Standouts include the vegetarian Shroomed Out ramen, which deploys meaty, earthy king oyster mushrooms to delicious effect, and perhaps the ultimate in cross-cultural comfort cuisine, the Hebrew Hammer, a rich and creamy combo of tender ramen noodles and chicken schmaltz. Tuck in with a bowl and take your time.

Photos by Izaiah Johnson

Matt Sorrell is staff writer at Sauce Magazine. 

Related Content
• Sauce Magazine: Best New Restaurants 2017

• Review: Nudo House

• First Look: Nudo House in Creve Coeur

Hit List: 3 new restaurants to try this September

Friday, September 1st, 2017

From a monster food truck to Chinese street food in The Loop, don’t miss these three new restaurants.

 

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1. Nudo House 11423 Olive Blvd., Creve Coeur, 314.274.8046, Facebook: Nudo House STL
St. Louis-area ramen fans have flocked to Nudo House, the long-awaited noodle shop from Mai Lee’s Qui Tran and Marie-Anne Velasco. Step up to the counter and place your order, then watch the team fly in the open kitchen. Bowls of steaming ramen hit the tables – be sure yours is the Shroomed Out, an unctuous vegetarian option filled with springy noodles, rich soymilk-based broth and meaty braised king oyster mushrooms. It’s topped with baby bok choy, pickled bamboo shoots (menma), fragrant garlic oil and a glorious, gooey marinated egg. If you’re looking for something handheld, try the Banh Mi Pho Dip, Nudo’s take on a classic French dip. French bread is stuffed with tender shredded brisket, flank steak and the usual banh mi accouterments, and served alongside a cup of beefy pho broth. Finish your meal with a cone of the rotating house-made soft serve; keep an eye out for lychee and mango.

2. Pie Hard 8201 W. Main St., Belleville, 314.791.3514, piehardpizza.com
Monster food truck Pie Hard eats normal-sized food trucks for breakfast. Chef-owner Michael Pastor stacked a 20-foot shipping container atop a flatbed, then added a 2½-ton pizza oven for good measure. The truck is making its way into St. Louis and the Metroeast for special events, but regularly parks outside its commissary kitchen to fire up 10-inch wood-fired pies. Put that massive rig to work and order pizzas like the Vladi with vodka sauce, pickled shallot, tender meatballs and crisp fried rosemary atop a toothsome, charred crust. Try a Mexican-inspired pie, the Al Pastor, with a sweet-savory mole sauce, shallot, thinly shaved pork belly, cheddar, queso fresco and wedges of sweet pickled pineapple. And save room for dessert: Pie Hard scoops house-made strawberry-balsamic ice cream between two sea salt chocolate chip cookies and tangy lemon gelato between light meringue disks.

3. Bing Bing 567A Melville Ave., University City, 314.669.9229, Facebook: Bing Bing
The newest addition to The Loop’s international bill of fare is actually just off Delmar Boulevard. Bing Bing specializes in jianbing, a popular street food snack in China made up of eggy pancakes. Sturdy enough to handle like a burrito but thin enough to be mistaken for a crepe, these jianbing are offered in two styles: the cornmeal-based Shandong style and the slightly more delicate mung bean-based Tianjin style. Each is filled with a jumble of flavors – smooth scrambled egg, crunchy wonton and slightly sour Chinese pickles. Add your choice of meat and sauce (the slightly sweet barbecue pork married well with the hoisin-like house sauce, while the golden crispy chicken played happily with the teriyaki-based traditional sauce), then watch as it’s all wrapped up to order.

Photo by Michelle Volansky 

Catherine Klene is managing editor, digital at Sauce Magazine. 

Related Content
Pie Hard pizza truck launches in Belleville, will expand to STL

First Look: Nudo House in Creve Coeur

What I Do: Marie-Anne Velasco of Nudo House

 

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What I Do: Marie-Anne Velasco of Nudo House

Monday, October 10th, 2016

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After more than 15 years in Chicago fine dining and the kitchens at The Ritz-Carlton and The Chase Park Plaza, Marie-Anne Velasco will open Nudo House with Mai Lee’s Qui Tran this fall. So how does a former Canadian Culinary Olympian wind up launching a ramen shop with St. Louis’ king of pho? A shared passion for noodle perfection. Here, Velasco shares her formative ramen experiences, her hippie ways and why Nudo must have a soft serve machine.

 

St. Louis, then and now
“It’s a totally different food city. I used to live on that block between the old Niche and Sidney Street. We used to see Kevin (Nashan) all the time or we’d go to Niche for drinks before we had kids. I would just sit there and think, ‘Wow, if only these places were open (everywhere in St. Louis).’ … From five years ago to now, it’s exploded.”

Free spirits of Chesterfield
“(My husband and I) are kind of closet hippies at home. We grow our own vegetables; we make our own kombucha; we make our own yogurt. We try to make and grow everything that we can.”

Aha moment
“It was just this unctuous, thick – it didn’t even feel like broth but everyone was calling it broth, and the noodles were chewy and the egg was custardy. Everything was just a perfect scenario of a food experience. It’s weird when you have that first experience. You just try and chase it.”

Ramen Revolution
“Ippudo (a New York City ramen restaurant) reset my brain, too. After working in all these different ramen places and getting to know the ingredients and the bones and what the procedures are, we sat down at this place and I went, ‘Wait a minute – I don’t know how they did this.’”

Screaming for ice cream
“I’m so excited about it! When you’re in Little Tokyo in Los Angeles after you go and have ramen, you have to go and have soft serve because it isn’t just soft serve. It’s like green tea, it’s like mango, it’s like coconut – all the things you think go hand in hand with Japanese flavors. That salty richness needs a balance between citrus and something sweet.”

Hungry business partners
“(Qui and I) are very meticulous about what we want and how we want it done. At the same time we both have an open mindset. We’re both easygoing, but at the same time, we want it done properly. … And we both have appetites that are never-ending. It’s almost embarrassing.”

-photo by Ashley Gieseking

Budget Crunch: 8 delicious deals to devour this month

Thursday, September 15th, 2016

Got $10 and a friend? Then contributor Holly Fann has eight delicious deals you need to devour this month. 

 

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{From left, Nudo House’s pork tonkotsu and chicken schmaltz ramen}

 

1. Construction is still ongoing at Nudo House, the hotly anticipated ramen restaurant from Mai Lee’s Qui Tran and Marie-Anne Velasco, but the duo hopes to reward eager patrons’ patience with a taste on Sept. 26. Tran and Velasco host their next ramen pop-up at Mai Lee in Brentwood, offering two options for $10 each: a pork tonkotsu or a chicken schmaltz version. This cash-only event takes place from noon to 9 p.m., so grab your friends and slurp to your heart’s content.

2. Whether you have little ones at home or are up for some old-fashioned hooky, skip the school bus and head to Eckert’s Millstadt Farm. Normally $12.50 on the weekends, the cost of admission drops to $6 on Wednesdays and Thursdays. Take in the pig races, a petting farm, an underground slide and a pumpkin cannon, then stroll through the orchards to pick your own apples. Tickets available onsite.

 

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{Urban Harvest STL Food Room Farm}

 

3. If your garden has gone crazy during the last weeks of summer or you couldn’t pass up the flat of ripe peaches at the farmers market, Urban Harvest STL is ready to help during its Preserving the Harvest class at 2:30 p.m. Sept. 17. Learn how best to prepare and keep the season’s bounty at the nonprofit’s Food Roof Farm. The class costs $10; sign up online.

4. While most come to slurp noodle soups at Vista Ramen, don’t neglect the cocktail list. The $9 Cafe Pseudo the perfect sip to say hello to autumn. With flavors that nod toward sweet, roasty Vietnamese coffee, the Pseudo is a combination of Fernet, cold-brew coffee, sweetened condensed milk, coconut milk and Thai basil.

 

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{Martinis at The Fountain on Locust}

 

5. It’s a madhouse at The Fountain on Locust with weeknight specials. On Tuesdays from 6 to 9 p.m., purchase one ice cream martini and receive a second for $1. Wednesdays bring the $2 plus Meal Madness special from 4 to 6 p.m.; purchase one meal and the next one is $2 plus the change that corresponds to the date (so on Sept. 21, your second meal price will be $2.21). Thursdays see specials on Fountain’s Classic Retro Cocktail menu from 6 to 9 p.m.; get one and the second is half price.

6. The Muddled Pig Gastropub in Maplewood now offers a custom 32-ounce growler for $10. To introduce its shiny new bottles, customers who buy a growler in September get their first fill free from any of the 16 beers on tap, including Ferguson Brewing’s Pecan Brown Ale or Modern Brewery’s Pig Island.

 
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{The Royale patio}

 

7. There’s one thing both sides of the ballot can agree on: The upcoming presidential debates will surely be entertaining. The Royale hosts a watch party on its outdoor patio Sept. 26 with a $5 Uncle Salvatore Nicholia Forte drink special: a shot of Old Charter bourbon and a 12-ounce Miller High Life. Royale proprietor Steven Fitzpatrick Smith’s Uncle Salvatore was known to hate politics, and Smith said this particular special is the best way to cope with the madness of election season.

8. Enjoy cooling autumn weather and the sweet boing of a rubber ball off your foot during a pick-up game at Kickball in The Park starting at 11 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 17 in Sublette Park. The first 100 attendees will receive a free hot salami sandwich from the Gioia’s Deli food truck.

 

 

 

 

 

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