Most couples spend around 90% of their time arguing over where or what to eat for dinner. Paul and I are no exception. Our deliberations often suffer from indecision and ennui. We’re always looking for novel creations and new talent in the kitchens of Memphis. As new restaurants open, we too easily forget about the places that continue to make great food. How many restaurants do we push to the back shelf of our brains?
We dined at The Crazy Noodle a few times in its first year when it opened more than 4 years ago. Owned by Ji Choi, the Crazy Noodle offers a Korean-inspired menu more expansive than the menu at the Kwik Check next door which features Bi Bim Bop (owned by Choi’s sister). The opening of several restaurants in Overton Square down the street distracted me from The Crazy Noodle until last Tuesday night. Originally, we planned to eat the Bi Bim Bop at Kwik Chek for dinner. When Kwik Chek told us they were out of beef for that dish, we opted to go next door.
There are no frills at The Crazy Noodle. No fancy decor, no website, just delicious Korean food in a casual setting. The weather cooled rapidly after the sun set, so Paul and I asked for a table on the deck outside (where we regularly dined at the old 61 On Teur and Umai). We ordered a couple of bottles of Stella Artois to go with our meal (bottles only — no draught beer). As I reviewed the menu, I fondly recalled the Japchae from four years ago: bell peppers, carrots, onions, shiitake mushrooms, spinach, sesame oil and soy sauce stir-fried with sweet potato noodles. I would have loved to revisit this old favorite, but we decided to try something new from the menu.
Paul ordered the Spicy Korean Ramen: Egg stirred in a spicy sauce broth with carrots, onions, zucchini, cabbage, jalepeños, scallions, and turnip kimchi. We needed lots of water after finishing our beer. The heat in this dish is FOR REAL but didn’t overwhelm the flavor of the fresh vegetables in the bowl. ⭐️⭐️⭐️1/2
I choose a bowl of Manduguk with steamed mandus (Korean dumplings filled with ground beef), flat rice cakes, cabbage, carrots, scallions, shiitake mushrooms, and zucchini stirred with an egg and topped with flakes of seaweed. The comforting, rich broth proved a perfect host to various textures in the bowl: chewy rice cakes, crisp green scallions, meaty dumplings and crispy seaweed flakes. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
During our visit, I observed more attentive table service and faster preparation of our meals by the kitchen than I remembered. I am not well versed in Korean food, but I look forward to trying more dishes here. Who knows? Perhaps The Crazy Noodle will make our dinner plan decisions easier. We won’t be waiting three years to return.
The Crazy Noodle
2015 Madison Avenue (at Morrison)
Memphis, TN 38104