Jump to content

People's Noodle Bar, Columbia Heights - Peter He's Pop-Up Ramen inside Señor Chicken - Closed


Recommended Posts

Perhaps the whole pop-up restaurant thing is precious and trendy, but having read the Mission Street Food Cookbook and story, I see the pop-up restaurant phenomenon as something very cool, opening possibilities for good cooks who live to feed people but don't have the means to open a restaurant. We went to People's Noodle Bar on the recommendation of a friend, and we liked it, although I guess it's been around for a few months with not very good reviews. It's located on the Park Road side of the DCUSA shopping center in Columbia Heights, in the Senor Chicken. Three kinds of broth (tonkotsu (pork), miso chicken and vegetarian mushroom), 7 ramen combinations mostly including pork, one duck and one vegetarian), 8 different levels of spicy, two kinds of noodles (the chewy yellow noodles or buckwheat, advertised as being imported from Japan). You go up to the counter to see a menu (the regular Senor Chicken menu is still up), you order and pay, then sit and wait for your ramen, and you pick up at the counter. I had the duck ramen in tonkotsu broth, advertised as having duck confit, crispy duck skin, egg, sesame and sprouts. The broth was fatty, cloudy and rich. About half the bowl was succulent shredded duck meat, with a soft-cooked egg (the inside was runny which was fine with me but may be off-putting to others), a piece of nori, a few leaves of spinach, shiitake mushroom, bean sprouts and green onion. The crispy duck skin was missing from my bowl, but it wasn't missed. Presentation was nice. It wasn't a huge portion, but I was satisfied. Husband had the pork People's ramen, spicy. The richness of his broth did not compare to my duck ramen broth, but his pork was delicious and the broth was red from the chili oil used to spice it up. Tasty in a different way. We love Ren's in Wheaton, and can't say this ramen is better, but it sure was different and good in its own way and closer to home in DC, although not for long. I think its last day is tomorrow from 5-9:30. It was a little sad and amusing to see people come in expecting a Latin chicken joint and finding out that Senor Chicken was just serving Japanese noodle soup, but perhaps the pop-up can also persuade people to try something different or new for the first time. I dig that something like this could lead to unexpected discovery. Not every experiment will be successful, but I am grateful to those who try.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've been twice, most recently about two months ago. The first time I visited they were only offering chicken ramen broth. It was fine - a decent meal on a cold night. It seemed more like chicken soup with an egg, etc than ramen though, largely due to the fact that the "hellfire" spice level was barely detectable. On the second visit, pork (not specified as tonkotsu) broth was the only option, and I decided to up the spice level based on the previous visit. As I was watching the bowls of ramen being prepared, I noticed the cooks placing differing amounts of a red pepper powder into each bowl. This, apparently, is how they adjust spice level. The problem, at least on that evening, was that the pepper never incorporated into the broth. Nor was it particularly spicy. It was like having broth with an overwhelming amount of a paprika-like substance floating around. The broth itself was also quite greasy (not rich, greasy) so the combination was less than pleasant. I'd really like to see this place succeed - I think the concept is a good one and the staff seem friendly, but I won't be going back unless I hear they've really improved.

To compare it to Toki would be unfair, as it's not even close based on my two visits, but did anyone happen to catch this place trying to start a beef with Toki on twitter a few months back? It was dumpling-related and bizarre.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

According to their twitter feed ( https://twitter.com/PeoplesBao ), the noodle pop-up at senor chicken is closed as of Friday, so they can work on the menu.

So is this place called People's Bao or People's Noodle Bar? [From an administrative standpoint, I'm not a big fan of keeping track of changing pop-ups - it's even more difficult than food trucks or Michael Landrum (okay, well maybe not *that* difficult). ^_^]

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The ramen pop-up was called People's Noodle Bar. Peter sells his buns (People's Bao) at local farmer's markets (I've seen mention of him being at Foggy Bottom and Mt. Pleasant, though I've not been to either.) and there is rumour of a food truck.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...