Thursday, April 19, 2007

Suzie's Soba

I went with some friends last night to one of their favorite places, Suzie's Soba in Hampden. I have usually stayed away from the pan-Asian-somewhat-Japanese-but-mostly-Korean Suzie's because of one thing: price. Oh, the place looks very enticing, but $20 an entrée is not what I usually aim for. And when I have gone by, I haven't been in the mood for noodles. So when my one friend told me that the noodle dishes are really more reasonable, I got myself in the mood for some noodles and headed on over.

Suzie's is a warm and kitschy-in-that-way-that-only-Hampden-can-be kind of place. And that That bright neon sign in the window is actually kind of inviting. To wit:

See? Inviting. And the way the staff treats you makes you feel even more welcome. I don't often comment on the hospitality of the restaurant staff, but the folks at Suzie's are nice folks. And good cooks, too. Also note that this place is Pan-Asian, but is not a fusion place. Japanese dishes appear beside Korean dishes, not in them.

As far as the prices went, my friends were right - the noodles were inexpensive enough that they fit in my price range, about $9 - $12. But my eye went toward the entrées for a second. This is where I saw that a handful of the $20 entrées were actually pretty reasonable, too. Of note was the $12 bibim bahp, more commonly spelled bi bim bap (also see this blog review of the dish from Sarah's LA-based "The Delicious Life" blog, complete with a gorgeous picture that looks almost the same as my bibim bahp). This Korean dish is a combination of shredded carrots, greens, beef and a fried egg, all topping sticky white rice. My bibim bahp came out in a large glass salad bowl, and had beautiful and tasty lettuce leaves (not iceberg, eww) surrounding it around the sides.

Before that, though, was the appetizer. We got a hearty helping of salted edamame and shared a smallish appetizer of spicy raw tuna (sushi-grade, mind you) in a halved and (duh) pitted avocado, and drizzled in a spicy sauce, again on a bed of greens. We sliced it into thirds and each took a piece. Tuna and avocado seem to go well together, and they do in this $5 appetizer.

Then came the bibim bahp. This was fairly spicy (which I like); in fact, the spices had almost a kim chee flavor. Hell, I like kim chee so I had no problem with that. I started eating it piece by piece, when my one friend suggested I just mix it all up. Made sense. And it was all going in the same place anyway. This was not the best bibim bahp I have had, but it was quite good, so I'd definitely get it there again.

And of course all three of us honed in on the beer and wines. My friends got a lovely bottle of Gewürztraminer ($30 I think? I only had, like, a few tablespoons; they finished the bottle) and I went for a small sake ($4). In all, our total price came out to about $75 before tip. My total was about $20, for entrée, sake and my share of the appetizers. They got the bulk of the tip, but then again they incurred most of the cost!

I will have to go back to Suzie's, but again I will hone in on either the cheaper noodles or the bibim bahp. Also because of that glorious-sounding banana tempura. But nothing too expensive - Suzie's is, by most accounts, overpriced. And a $20 entrée is too rich for my blood.

Suzie's Soba on Urbanspoon


Fairfax said...

They have an off menu chicken salad that's fab. Poached chix breasts, on greens with avacado and some other stuff.

Anonymous said...

You seem like a cheapskate.