As a shamless noodle lover (in college, giving up noodles for Lent meant saying goodbye to nine half-opened boxes of various pastas), I'm thrilled that Memphis now has a proper Asian noodle shop.
Crazy Noodle, which opened this week, is located in the old Umai Space on Madison. It's owned by Ji Choi (the sister of the woman who runs the Kwik Check next door) and features an expanded, Korean-inspired menu that goes beyond the Kwik Check's bi-bim-bap.
Crazy Noodle's menu isn't huge, but it's loaded with authentic soups, plated noodles and hot pots. There are even photos of each item for the visual learners.
My dinner date and I decided to order entirely too much food and split everything. We started with a side of fish-jean ($4), a plate of five crispy-fried fish patties circled around a small bowl of mild chili sauce. Though it's listed as a side item, it's perfectly suited to be an appetizer.
For dinner, we ordered curry noodles, Jap-Chae and a bowl of noodle soup that I think was called Ja-Jang noodles (sometimes, I get so excited about eating that I forget to write things down).
The curry noodles ($8.99) are thin, Ramen-style noodles that are served cold, plated next to, but not quite under, a spicy brown curry. The idea is that the curry sauce will warm the noodles up. The curry has diced potatoes, bell peppers, onions and chicken.
I really liked the Jap-Chae noodles. They reminded me a little bit of Pad Thai in consistency. The soy-based sauce clings to the rice noodles, which are topped with mushrooms, peppers, onions, sweet potatoes and sesame seeds. The Jap-Chae noodles aren't super spicy, but they've got a lot of flavor.
The best part of the meal was by far the Ja-Jang (I think) noodles ($9). I really wish I had taken better notes. The name's not important. What you need to know about this dish (which is pictured at the top of the post) is that it's a hot pot of happiness.
The bowl comes with thin white noodles, diced bell peppers, tender mushrooms, potatoes, onions and ground beef in a spicy, red broth. The spice isn't outright – I ate a few bites before I realized that the soup has a lingering slow burn aftertaste that's not at all unpleasant.
Crazy Noodle's atmosphere is pretty casual. The kitchen is exposed, sushi-bar style, and you can watch the cooks work if you sit in the front room. The main dining room has a wall of colorful graffiti and the bathroom is wallpapered with pages from Asian newspapers.
Crazy Noodle is open 11 a.m. – 9 p.m. Tuesday – Saturday and from 12 p.m. until 9 p.m. on Sunday. They take credit cards, and most of the menu items are less than $10.
Memphis, TN 38104