Fresh spinach handmade noodles with pork
I like the name Bamboodles, because it's easier to remember than most Chinese restaurant names. ("Do you want to go to Best Szechuan?" "No, I want to go to Szechuan Best!") But while the name might seem kind of gimmicky, Bamboodles is a serious temple to noodle artistry. It took over a San Gabriel Valley Blvd. strip mall space that I believe might have housed a fairly dubious Hunan place last year, and it's a great improvement. Here's the drill: Bamboodles makes handmade thin noodles, using a huge bamboo log (left) to shape them. Green tea noodles are sort of a signature flavor, but they also make spinach, carrot, plain, extra egg and black sesame (below right). You can get them in a rich pork soup, for a similar effect to pork ramen; in beef or chicken soup or on a plate with spicy beef, shrimp or pork lo mein. To start, we tried the garlicky cold seaweed and potatoes, recommended by Exilekiss, who first wrote about this place in an enthusiastic Chowhound post. It was nice to have a cold dish to return to between bites of noodles. Then we chose spinach noodles in pork soup, which came out in a wonderful green color, since they use fresh spinach. The pork was tender, the broth lightly perfumed, perhaps with anise -- this was a nice bowl of noodles with a good bite to them. Carrot noodles ( bottom left) came on a plate with a cup of spicy beef on the side -- the beef sauce was a bit greasy and the beef could have been a bit more tender. But this dish really came alive when a dash of soy sauce and a dash of red vinegar was added to the mild carrot noodles, and we scooped up every bite. Although there were just two of us, we also managed to down an order of House special dumplings. Matt liked their rustic, homemade wrappers and pork filling. They aren't the very best dumplings in the area, but even ok homemade dumplings can be pretty good.
Verdict: Bamboodles wasn't nearly as crowded as most of the other places on Valley Saturday night, perhaps because the menu is fairly small and specialized. But we had an amazing quantity of nicely-crafted noodles and sides for $27, and I'd say this place is definitely worth trying. Also, it's very user-friendly, with a helpful waiter who shows you the different types of noodles and explains how the menu works.
535 Valley Blvd.