Send Noods: Cheu Fishtown is finally open
For someone who loves food as much as I do, I'm really bad about trying newly-opened restaurants. I get to them eventually, but I always seem to miss the excitement of opening week. Or month. In fact, it usually takes me so long to get there that all of my friends have tried it first, even if the restaurant is right in my own backyard (I only recently went to Wm. Mulherin’s Sons, well after the craze had died down).
I've been watching Cheu Fishtown get slowly renovated for months now, and I decided that this was it: come hell or high water, I was going to get to Cheu during its opening week. I've never been to their Center City location (though I have been to Bing Bing Dim Sum on East Passyunk), but my boyfriend loves their ramen and was excited to have a restaurant in the neighborhood that didn't just serve bar food or tacos (I mean, I love bar food and tacos, but sometimes I need variety, you know?).
So when we found out that Cheu had opened over the weekend, we rearranged our schedules and made plans to check it out on Thursday. We got there around 7 (missing happy hour, which goes against everything I stand for) and had a 45-minute wait for a table. The place is pretty small, so prepare to wait if you don't get there right as they open at 5. Unfortunately, due to some confusion between the hosts, our table was actually given away to another party. However, the manager quickly brought us over complimentary beers and promised us the next available table. A+ customer service, Cheu.
Once seated, we ordered the green curry chicken wontons and two orders of the brisket ramen. The wontons were...exactly what they sound like. They weren't a transcendent eating experience, but if you like the idea of wontons stuffed with green curry chicken, then do you. Personally, I'll probably try the buns next text time (stuffed with beef, pork belly or soybean falafel).
The ramen, however, was on a whole different level. I'm not typically a huge ramen fan, but my life has been changed and I've seen the error of my ways. The brisket ramen comes with brisket (duh), a matzo ball (!), and kimchi in a sesame red chili broth that I would happily drink every day for the rest of my life. While I'm tempted by some of their other dishes (particularly cold peanut noodles with shrimp, roasted pepper, cucumber and green papaya), realistically I can't see myself ever ordering anything but this ramen. It's spicy without being overwhelming, the brisket is tender enough to slice with your spoon and my boyfriend swears the kimchi tastes just like the kind he's gotten in Korea. Also, the addition of the matzo ball is really fun, and I always like when restaurants give me extra carbs.
Update: At the time of publication I have visited Cheu Fishtown a second time (twice in about five days, if you're counting), and did indeed eat the Brisket Ramen again. Still delicious. Also, I can now say with authority that the pork belly buns (topped with pickles and a "special sauce") are my new go-to appetizer.
Cheu Fishtown has a decent beer list, some fun cocktails and vegetarian/vegan food options. Basically, there's something that will make everyone happy. Happy hour is 5-7 during the week and 3-5 on weekdays, and features food and drink specials.
Oh, and when you go, make sure you check out their bathroom. While it isn't quite as cool as the one in Bing Bing, they have, hands down, the greatest toilet I've ever seen: