4/01/2013 03:30:00 PM

Best Thing We Ate This Weekend: Hand-Cut Udon at Monzo

Whether it's Italian cavatelli or Japanese soba, fresh handmade pasta is good no matter what culture it comes from. We gave Monzo's udon a whirl over the weekend and found one of the most delicious bowls of broth and noodles we've had in a long time. Monzo is less than two weeks old, set up in the former Fat Spoon space, with lines that rival Daikokuya next door. The staff is still getting their rhythm together, but the kitchen has it down pat, especially the guy rolling out stiff wheat dough in front of diners at the bar, first using his fists and then a long dowel to get it to just the right thickness. Watching these guys cut and sift the noodles is half the fun.

Of course, the best part is actually eating those noodles, preferably in a giant steaming bowl of lightly scented fish broth. Our friend got the kamaage udon where the noodles are served in a big wooden bowl with its cooking liquid and a side of concentrated fish sauce. You scoop out a long strand of soft, slippery noodle, dip it in the sauce and slurp. Delicious. We opted for the simple udon with shrimp tempura, and it was simply fantastic. The noodles had a perfectly soft texture, the broth was just right. Almost every table had big bowls of the super rich and creamy miso carbonara udon, a house specialty, something we couldn't fathom a whole bowl of (but maybe a bite). Quick shout-out to the tempura bacon-wrapped tomato, best dipped in curry salt, our new favorite bar snack. We already can't wait to go back.

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