Wednesday, October 15, 2008

An Unassuming Noodle Haven: E O Noodle, Framingham

I have mentioned EO Noodle a number of times in this blog, but I thought it was time to do it justice. A very small and modest spot on Route 9 in Framingham, it is defined by its lack of pretentiousness. In fact, I think "charming" might be the best word to describe the atmosphere. The outside is so minimalist and the curtains so often pulled that a friend insisted they had closed. No. It is still open daily. Inside it is painted salmon with bright garish flowers on the wall. There are just a few tables and today, for example, my cup was chipped.

The menu never seems quite accurate. FoodieDaddy's sesame chicken was neither stir fried nor spicy as the menu noted. So, it is good to ask questions.

There is also only one main server. He is also the same man that answers the phone. And he is also the owner and cook. When it is busy, expect him to be abrupt, but when it is quieter, he will start up a conversation and even crack a smile. His gruff manner masks a very considerate man: when he realized FoodieDaddy wasn't going to eat a side order of soup (too spicy), he brought him another.

Clearly, we don't go there for atmosphere. We go there for the food and for the special touches that we have only found in Chinatown or at much higher end restaurants. For example, the spicy sauce on the tables is home made. And it is so, so good. Layered with flavor, simply calling it "hot" doesn't do it cover how delicious it is. The home made wontons (which are offered with pork or vegetable or to my husband's delight, chicken) are individually made. They are tender, moist and flavorful but also comforting. You can have them with any of 3 sauces (Dan Dan, a peanut sauce; a ginger sauce or a spicy soy sauce) and if you are very nice, you might even get 2.

My husband raves about the Mongolian style barbecue. Again, it is definitely not barbecued and I am not convinced they eat this in Mongolia. But it is incredibly well seasoned stir fry with chicken that is so soft it almost melts in the mouth. It is served with a great helping of vegetables and just enough sauce. You can have it with rice, but we always choose the noodles.

In fact, besides the addictive wontons, we really go there for the noodles. They offer 2 types of homemade noodles, thin and thick, and both are fantastic. They are tender, but yet have a bite. The Dan Dan noodles come with sliced cucumber, steamed spinach and just enough sauce. The sauce tastes of sesame seeds and soy, with barely any garlic and just a hint of peanuts. The "Meat Noodles" are made chicken while the "Peking Meat" noodles have pork. The "Meat Noodles" is one of my favorites: again, lightly cooked ground chicken in an incredibly flavorful sauce served over the homemade noodles.

I have also had the roast duck noodle soup which consisted of a large bowl of deeply flavored stock with fried shallots and large pieces of duck. I appreciated that when we took out the broth, the duck and the noodles were all packaged separately so they wouldn't be soggy at home. Again, another great touch. The Szechuan Spicy Beef Noodle Soup was very good, though it definitely wasn't spicy enough for my taste.

The place isn't perfect-sometimes the sauces can be a bit heavy or the noodles can be so covered in sauce that it is hard to enjoy them. (In the future I plan to ask them to always pack the noodles separate from the toppings.) But the prices are reasonable, the parking is easier than a trip to Chinatown and the noodles are always so, so good. Finally, since the portions are so generous, any trip to E.O. Noodle guarantees us a second meal the next day (and 2 less meals we have to cook!)

Eonoodle on Urbanspoon

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