Photo by Bird Cox
A pork and rice-noodle bowl
Carytown seems to be building a little hub of health-conscious, adventurous lunch and dinner options. First came The Daily Kitchen and its long list of veggie, vegan, gluten-free and paleo options, then Mediterranean bowl-building eatery Coriander arrived, and now Spiral Noodle’s here, offering up a mix 'n' match menu of noodles, veggies, meats and condiments.
They’re not trying to replicate classic Japanese ramen or Vietnamese pho houses; it’s noodly fusion, and if you want to put kale, corn and green peppers in yours, you go ahead and do you. They’ll get you started with a bowl of rice or noodles and a protein — chicken, shrimp, steak, boneless pork chop or fried tofu — in a Chinese, Japanese or Vietnamese-style broth. You can pile on additions like bean sprouts, a sunny-side-up egg, crab stick, zucchini, shiitakes and Japanese pickles (that’s only about one-third of the list). When your bowl comes out of the kitchen, you sauce it up at the sauce bar, where sesame oil, oyster, Korean BBQ, black bean, sweet chili, eel, lime, teriyaki and spicy mayo sauces await you.
Photo by Bird Cox
The signature lighting previously found in Yapple is now integrated into Spiral Noodle's dining room; manager Hon Yu served up a beef bowl
“Our broth is a light base," says manager Hon Yu. "You can customize it with our sauces, but we wanted the soup to be light so that it doesn't overwhelm your palate once you’ve added what you like. A lot of broths, especially ramen broths, can be very strong. Another highlight is that you can come into Spiral Noodle in the mood for soup with mushrooms. Or broccoli. And that's what you'll get in your bowl. Many pho and ramen shops don't offer this kind of customization.”
If you’re sticking to the healthy side of things, you can also get edamame, shrimp shumai or fresh summer rolls to complement your noodles. If you like to balance out all that health with some good ol’ fashioned fat, grab the fried bacon and cheese crab rangoons or the “trio fries” (a ménage á trois of waffle, curly and shoestring). And soon, you’ll be able to wash it all down with some ice cold sake — the noodle shop's ABC license is in the works.
Spiral Noodle is located in the old Yapple space next to Sweet Frog, and yes, Yapple fans, they did keep the awesome sea of lights up overhead. Noodle dishes max out at $10 and arrive in your hands very shortly after ordering. It’s up to you whether they get doused in spicy mayo.
Spiral Noodle is located at 3131 West Cary St., and is open seven days a week from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., and from 5 to 10 p.m.