This is the time of year our bodies crave noodles in hot broth. On cold nights, we dream of large bowls filled with noodles, vegetables and protein all swimming in a steamy, savory broth. Nothing fills that craving quite like a giant bowl of Vietnamese Pho, Bun or Japanese Ramen. It is one of the most delicious ways to survive Kansas City’s long, cold winter months. Nothing clears the sinuses, warms the bones and cures a hangover faster than this catch-all soup. It will cure what ails you.
Here are four noodle bowls to help get, and keep you, right as rain this winter:
Owner, Spike Nguyen, opened his original location on Independence Avenue as Pho Hoa, but once he decided to open his second location on Broadway in the Spring of last year, he renamed both locations to iPho Tower. I stumbled in here on New Years Day looking for something to take the edge off my headache earned the night before and his Spicy Bun Bo Hue did the trick for $8.95. Made with pork broth with slices of beef brisket and beef meatballs over vermicelli rice noodles, the bun bo has a fantastic depth and spice to it, with aromas of anise or Five Spice in the broth. My version did not have the traditional pigs blood in it, but, trust me, it was not missed.
iPho Tower Vietnamese-French Bistro
3623 Broadway, Kansas City, MO AND
1447 Independence Avenue, Kansas City, MO
Kim and Jack Nguyen, a married couple, decided to jump on the chance to open their new Nguyen Pho+Grill restaurant in the midst of road construction because they loved the bustling corner location which is located right on the new streetcar line. They reason it is also close to many Vietnamese families who live or work around the River Market area. He works the front of the house and she is in the kitchen cooking like she does at home. Open only a few months, the couple has been busy serving their family recipes featuring Pho, Vermicelli and Bahn Mi sandwiches ever since. Try their Combo Charbroiled Lemongrass Pork Vermicelli with shrimp and a crispy egg roll for $8.75, for a sweet and sour take on the traditional noodle bowl. Want yours to-go? Use their website to place and pay for your order online before you go and pick it up. It makes the process fast and easy.
Nguyen Pho+Grill, 500 Grand Blvd, Kansas City, MO, http://nguyenphokc.com
Deluxe Pho from Big Bowl Pho in the Northland:
Last year, chef Dom Wiruhayarn and his wife, Marisa, opened Big Bowl Pho next door to their Tasty Thai restaurant in Kansas City’s Northland to rave reviews. Make this your spot to grab a bite coming from or going to the Kansas City Airport.
Are you back in town after a long trip? Stop in for their pho, and you’ll be ready for whatever lies ahead. Get the Deluxe Pho, for $9.95, with rice noodles floating in a umami-rich, earthy broth filled with thin slices of beef shank, brisket and tendon with fresh herbs.
Their portions are generous so you will have plenty to take home and enjoy for your next meal.
Big Bowl Pho, 7106 NW Prairie View Road, Northland, Kansas City, MO. http://www.kctastythai.com
Neither Shantel Grace, nor her husband Tim, are chefs or have ever owned a restaurant before, but after developing an appreciation for Japanese ramen while living and working in Hawaii, these Kansas University graduates decided to come home and figure out how to bring a piece of their islands experience with them. The cooks that the couple has hired to make their ramen have been trained by a Japanese ramen chef, and they make their stock by roasting bones to get the most flavor. The noodles, which are almost as important as their rich broth, are chewy to the tooth, a testament to their authenticity and freshness. Go for broke with the Hokkaido Tonkotsu Miso Ramen for $11.50. This noodle bowl features thick wavy noodles, hearty miso pork bone broth and a slice of grilled yakibuta (roast pork), napa cabbage, fried leeks, spring onions, fresh corn, tamago (soft boiled egg) and nori (seaweed). Well worth the drive for bowls this good. Live in Lawrence? Ramen Bowls delivers. Lucky you.
Ramen Bowls, 125 E. 10th Street, Lawrence, KS. http://www.ramenbowls.com