Ethnic food doesn’t necessarily mean sticking to cuisine from the same country. There are a few restaurants in town that spill over the borders and build their own theme. P.S. Noodle Pot is a welcome addition to that scene.
The restaurant is located in a humble strip mall storefront in Antioch. The interior is low key and tasteful. The sticky linoleum floor and generic chairs kind of take things down a bit; and that seems odd given the upscale dinner ware they use for service.
Noodles are the star here and the menu stays in theme while moving across Asia from Vietnam (pho) to Thailand (pad Thai) China (lo-mein) Laos (bee boun) and Japan (ramen). Along the way you get egg noodles, rice noodles, cellophane noodles and pasta noodles. The variety is a nice change of pace. We started in China with a couple of crispy, tasty vegetable egg rolls. We wanted to sample something different but had trouble finding veggie options in the appetizer section; same problem with the soups. The egg drop is good: light and delicate, but everything is either chicken of beef based. There are a number of veggie options in the entrees and the staff is happy to substitute tofu for beef.
Chicken with peanut sauce arrives in a carefully arranged swirl on a wide white plate. You can tell immediately that the kitchen takes pride in presentation. One bite later and it is clear that they also take pride in preparation. The extra large rice noodles are spectacular in texture and taste. The delightful peanut sauce balances savory, sweet and slightly spicy. Every ingredient in the dish is perfectly cooked, from the crunchy cucumber and peppers to the moist chicken and crunchy, chopped peanuts. A sweet little pop from an occasional bit of pineapple is the final touch for a truly wonderful dish.
The hot pots are the signature item at P.S. Noodle Pot. The koi see mee offers egg noodles, meat, bok choy and brown gravy served boiling in a clay pot. The homemade brown gravy comes up in a number of dishes on the menu and will definitely be part of a return visit. There are a bunch of curry and rice options to round out the offerings and some Thai salads. It’s a big menu with about 50 main items and another 20 appetizers and soups.
Veggie Eater: The world’s stickiest floor is what I will remember first about this place. However, on a more positive note, I will remember the fabulous noodles. Perhaps is my Italian heritage or perhaps my general love of complex carbohydrates, but I love noodles and they have to be really good noodles. I ordered the Pad Thai and was not disappointed. I generally like very hot/spicy Thai and found it odd that they did not ask me how hot I would like my dish. Even though the dish was mild, it was very flavorful and the noodles were expertly cooked. Frequently with Pad Thai you get a big gloppy mess; not the case here. The thin rice noodles were elastic and slightly chewy from pan frying. They were more than happy to substitute tofu on my version and there were generous chunks of pan fried tofu, along with crumbled peanuts, ribbons of egg, scallions, mung bean sprouts, and a shimmering slightly sweet red sauce. Again, I prefer a spunkier version in general, but having the noodles so well cooked was a winner in my book. Not a ton of veggie items on the list, but again, they seem very happy to substitute tofu.
Meat Eater: Once again it’s taken us a while to get to this restaurant, even though we’ve heard such good things. The readers and various reviewers (especially Lesley and the Nashville Foodies) who have suggested it are right: P.S. Noodle Pot is inventive and delicious. That’s a great combination in our book. We paid $33 with tax and tip for two appetizers and two entrees.
Meat Eater: The clay pot soups are a specialty at P.S. Noodle Pot so a return visit put that at the top of our order. The dish called P.S. Noodle Pot comes out sizzling hot. The brown broth is savory to the point of perfection with a slight thickening agent that gives it a silky feel. Tender beef, slightly chewy mushrooms and crunchy bok choy all retain flavor and texture thanks to perfect cooking. It’s a delightful combination and the egg noodles are like gourmet ramen: thin, tangly and tasty.
Veggie Eater: The floor was noticeably less sticky this visit, which is a plus. I had the Tom Yum Pot and it was fabulous. The broth was both delicate and assertive; lemongrass floating happily, a mystery herb (after a conversation with the owners apparently akin to lime leaves), scallions, and garlic, all with a shimmering red glow (presumably from hot chili oil). There were big chunks of tofu and whole button mushrooms bobbing away in the broth, all of this atop rice noodles. My only complaint is that it is a logistical nightmare to try to eat it; just try to get noodles, broth, tofu, and mushrooms all in one bite. Do you use a fork? Do you use a spoon? I resorted to both. Not a bad dilemma to have.