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Shaho

Mi & Yu Noodle Bar, Chef Edward Kim's Fast-Casual Ramen and Noodles - Rapidly Expanding into Multiple Locations

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Mi and Yu Noodle Bar opened on S. Charles Street a few months back, and they are a welcome addition to the neighborhood. This is a non-traditional "ramen" restaurant in that you mix and match a protein (currently buttermilk brined fried chicken, roast duck carnitas, 5 spiced bbq pork belly, soy-miso braised short ribs, or seared tofu), noodle (ramen, pho, or udon), and soup (spicy kimchi, miso, or adobo duck) to create your meal.

I've tried all of the meats except the pork belly, and they are all well-seasoned, flavorful, and tender, although there are some dry bites here and there. The ramen noodles seem to be imported and are pretty good, while the udon noodles are what you would except, but personally don't seem to work that well with the heaviness of the soups. The miso soup is lighter and more reminiscent of your typical ramen place, while the duck soup really packs a punch on your initial slurp, but gets a bit overwhelming with salt and umami as you work your way through.

All of the soups come with a soft-boiled egg and a tasty bean sprout/cabbage/carrot salad. The end result is several different combinations of delicious flavors, although some work better together than others. The noodle bowls are $12-$14 for a LOT of food; I've never been able to finish the soup. This is the perfect meal for a cold day or a long week at work. The other thing that I love about this place is the online ordering system (using ChowNow) on Mi and Yu's website. Choose a pick up time, order your meal, pay, and they'll email you when your food is bagged and ready to go. Walk in, take it home, get a BIG bowl ready to go (remember, it's a lot of food), combine, and enjoy.

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This article gives some good insight into the psyche of Edward Kim:

06/02/15 - "Edward Kim, of Soigne Fame, to Open Federal Hill Ramen Bar" by Richard Gorelick on baltimoresun.com

And here's the Baltimore Sun's opening review (*):

09/09/15  - "Mi & Yu Noodle Bar Keeps It Simple" by Suzanne Loudermilk on baltimoresun.com

This article reveals Kim's aspirations to open additional Mi & Yu Noodle Bars:

09/15/15 - "Mi & Yu Noodle Bar Opens in Federal Hill" by Kevin Lynch on southbmore.com

(*) Phrases such as "spaghetti-like ramen" written by a critic I'm unfamiliar with make me edgy - is this a swipe at the ramen noodles, or is this a critic clumsily trying to describe what ramen is like?

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I went a few weeks ago - they added bao (Chinese steam bum sandwiches) a day or two after I went, so I was able to see the advertising but wasn't able to partake. Shaho covered most of it - it is delicious and it is a very large bowl. I actually had the pork belly, so I can speak to that - I recall it being well-seasoned, tender, and flavorful too. The star was definitely the broth (spicy kimchi on this trip) and fresh ingredients. The seating area is small, and it can get quite crowded during peak times - even on a Monday the seats were filled. It fills a solid void in the neighborhood and will do quite well - I wouldn't be surprised to see them expand to the Mt. Vernon area within a couple years. I do know that the takeout hasn't worked well for some people - something just gets lost because of the nature of the dish, no fault to the restaurant.

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Later in the year, expanding to Hampden, Currently in Federal Hill and Mount Vernon Marketplace. Possibly later in Fells Point, Harbor East, and Charles Village.

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