Naming a restaurant "Chubby Noodle" in the Marina is the equivalent of proclaiming yourself "The Gluten Emporium." It’s not a branding scheme that turns tables in an area where a 30-minute wait for a salad is perfectly acceptable. But if the name scares some people off, we’re OK with that.
Chubby Noodle brings the restaurant scene on Lombard St. into the 21st century. The rest of this strip is a 70s time capsule, and while it can be fun to explore what SF was like when your parents were at their first Dead concert, the "motor hotels," IHOP, and Linoleum Larry’s lend to a less than appealing array of food choices. Thankfully, Chubby Noodle, brought to you by the team behind Don Pisto’s, is livening up the options in this ‘hood with simple, straightforward Asian-fusion. The shrimp is killer, the noodles are awesome, and the Fresh Prince theme song is on the playlist. Bring it on.
The place flies under the radar - no name on the exterior, just a sign with a noodle (we think) bathing in a bowl of noodles. The discreet approach helps keep the crowds away - so far, we haven’t had to wait for a table.
It’s nice to hit up a “fusion” spot with a menu that doesn’t require turning a few pages to get to the "Noodles" section, and almost every dish delivers. And it’s even better to find a Lombard St. spot without a shag carpet, Pet Rock, or tile in sight. Sorry, Larry.
Korean Pork Tacos
Holy f*ck. One of the top dishes, taco or otherwise, we’ve eaten in SF. The pork has the texture of steak and the marinade of heaven. The tortilla is lightly fried and the yogurt sauce complements the meat perfectly. Can you serve us 22 rather than 2?
Tuna served in crispy chip bowls of undetermined but delicious origins. The tuna could use a little more soy/sesame, but eating it in the crunchy bowls is a refreshing take on the usual.
Salt & Pepper Prawns
Too big to be called shrimp, the Chubby Noodle prawns go heavy on the pepper and it works. Don’t miss these guys.
Pork & Shrimp Wontons
Mushy wontons in a tasty broth - save your stomach space for everything else. Also, we’d label these dumplings, not wontons.
Chile Prawn Noodles
The green curry sauce would make a bike tire taste good. Get at me.
Spicy Garlic Noodles
Thick, hearty egg noodles in a spicy, garlic sauce. These are excellent, but we wish they had something else in them. Maybe more prawns.