From Tokyo to Cleveland

October 27th, 2011

Mastering delicious and funky cuisine while staying true to a culture’s traditional dishes can be a tricky task for a chef. Chef Jonathon Sawyer, of East 4th street’s Greenhouse Tavern, has done just that.

By combining the contemporary with the conventional, Sawyer has brought famous Tokyo fare right here to Cleveland, opening  his newest restaurant, Noodlecat.

One of the city’s newest hidden gems, located on the corner of Euclid and East 4th, Noodlecat features many “slurpalicious” noodle bowls reminiscent of Toyko-style street food.

The décor is reminiscent of an elementary school art studio. The tables are wooden rectangles surrounded by small stools, fit for a fifth grader.

The menu consists mostly of unique, exquisite noodle dishes. You have to go to Noodlecat with an open and adventurous mind-set.

To start your meal off right, you can choose from amusingly named salads, like the Choy n’Soi for $7 or the Old School Salad for $6. Try the Twice Cooked Crispy Chicken Wings that range in flavors from miso BBQ to porky garlic, either of which will open your eyes to how a chicken wing should taste.

For the main course, college student curiosity may have you wanting to try the College Ramen for $9, but be cautioned: it will not taste like the pre-packaged ramen one may be used to. Ramen made in a dorm room microwave is tastier than Noodlecat’s College Ramen.

Noodlecat features an extensive list of “special” noodles. Some of the best specials include the seafood ones, such as the Udon noodles in seafood broth with shrimp and pork gyoza. An interesting combination of flavors, but prepared just right that you will want to slurp until sufficiently stuffed.

Other noodle dishes like the Fried Chicken Ramen or the Ohio Beef Brisket and Matzo Ramen have become instant hits.

Noodlecat is also famous for their “steam buns.” These are miniature sandwiches, which range from BBQ Pork or Japanese Fried Chicken and even Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana. Steam buns will only set you back about $4.

The menu features an assortment of teas along with cocktail specials such as the Long Thailand Ice Tea or the SoJu Margarita.

Sawyer’s restaurant is a popular spot for Happy Hour or for a lunch break. The restaurant offers lunch specials that include your choice of a noodle bowl or two steam buns and a salad all for $13.

The service was impeccable and every question about the interesting dishes will be thoroughly answered along with suggestions on what to try for stumped visitors.

To finish the meal, the dessert options are equally as interesting as the rest. Try one of the sorbets for a dollar. They are refreshing and just the right amount of sweet to end a salty meal.

The menu features vegetarian noodle bowl specials, but also vegan and gluten free dishes. The restaurant creates traditional dishes using local ingredients and gets all of their pasta from Ohio City Pasta.

Noodlecat is surely as unique as its name, which is why it is worth a visit.

It is not for everyone, but those who are craving Asian cuisine and are daring enough to think outside of the “Chinese takeout” box should take a trip to 234 Euclid Ave.