Ramen Adventure at Spiral Noodle

Ramen Adventure at Spiral Noodle

Contributing Writer Grant Smith

Sprawling across the walls, a mural depicts a battle scene reminiscent of 90’s animated cartoons and japanese manga. An enormous octopean monster coils in the clouds in conflict against robotic giants detailed in torch reds and cerulean blues. The mural, along with a fluid rainbow of color-changing light bulbs spread on the ceiling, empowers the atmosphere with animated warmth and advances the restaurant’s fun, upbeat character.
unnamed (3)
Carytown-located Spiral Noodle opened in early June and is the newest restaurant seemingly skirting the coattails of Foo Dog’s trendsetting ramen— but with several original innovations and a healthy injection of personality, Spiral Noodle is certainly worth a visit.

Richmond might have reached notoriety as a foodie destination for creative southern cuisine, but locals enjoy an array of vibrant and colorful ethnic eatery options. In the past year a new trend has exploded onto the scene: oriental soup, more notably ramen.

Before Spring 2014, Richmonders and VCU students were limited to mostly Pho noodle soup at mom and pop shops, such as Saigon on West Grace Street. Foo Dog opened last year as a hip ramen eatery. With a quirky thematic atmosphere inspired by japanese manga culture, extensive drink specials and fresh noodles sourced from New York City, the restaurant quickly made a name for itself. Several months later, Shoryuken Ramen opened up on Franklin Street specializing in Japanese style ramen.

Spiral Noodle diverges from its competition by offering customizable noodle fusion. Other restaurants might offer specific regional varieties of oriental noodle soup, but at Spiral Noodle you can choose from all of them, or take your favorite ingredients from each. The menu details a variety of traditional appetizers and a few pre-planned entrees, but a checklist lets the guest chose their made-to-order oriental noodle adventure. Drink options include a fully stocked bar, including sake and Sapporo on draft. Daily drink specials are offered between 5 and 7 p.m. unnamed (2)

Ingredients focus around three different regional styles: Pho, Chinese, and Japanese. Each of these styles offer a different type of broth to choose from. Next you pick your toppings and protein where the menu lists several suggested vegetables associated with each style. Proteins include a choice of chicken, steak, pork, shrimp or tofu. Although soup seems to be their focus, guests have the option to select their bowls with noodles or rice without broth.

The final step in determining your Spiral Noodle adventure involves stopping by the “sauce bar.” Spiral Noodle keeps their broth light to allow each guest to customize their dish with the multitude of sauces and seasonings. Flavors for these range from salty, to sweet, to spicy.

With the head chief and several members of management hailing from Hong Kong, Spiral Noodle has an authentic relationship with the fresh ingredients and traditional methods with which they craft their cuisine. The flexibility and accommodating approach of their mix-and-match creations allow guests to get creative with their entree, although there is risk that a less-experienced diner might choose what they find to be an uncomplimentary combination of ingredients. When in doubt, it is a good idea to ask the server for their educated opinion.

*Spiral Noodle’s custom mural painting was created by Matt Lively, nationally acclaimed artist and VCU Professor.

Q & A: Restaurant Week 101

Q & A: Restaurant Week 101 Story and Artwork by Lauren N. ColieShafer Bird asked Events Manager Christy Dalton of FeedMore about Richmond’s Restaurant Week. This week (April 22 – 28) more than 30 local restaurants will offer three-course dinner specials for .13, a portion of which will go to support FeedMore’s community prog...

Raising Cane’s, IHOP and Croutons: One Tough Call

Raising Cane’s, IHOP and Croutons: One Tough Call Words and Photos by Michael PascoOn October 24th, 2011, VCU introduced a new dining facility labeled the Laurel and Grace Place (which is something I doubt any student would actually say) right by most of the freshman dorms.Weeks before they were ready, I knew I wanted to try all of the establi...

Preview

Which has better pizza? Christian’s and I ❤ N.Y. square off Sean KorsgaardContributing WriterFor those of you venturing off campus for that classic college pizza craving, a pair of pizzerias recently opened on campus, Christian’s Pizza and I heart N.Y. Pizza.Christian’s Pizza, on 404 N. Harrison next to the Village Caf&eacut...

Preview

Pizzapocalypse: Can DiCarlos Top Christian’s? by Seth BirkenmeyerPizza is quintessential part of pretty much every college student’s diet. We as a group are usually strapped for cash, frequently intoxicated and always hungry. Those are things that go great with pizza. But there are so many options to choose from, and at a certain point i...