We tasted all the noodles so you don’t have to (but you probably should).
There’s only one good reason to leave your room on a winter night: noodles. The freezing winds, snow-covered boots and general feelings of agony all melt away over a piping hot bowl of deliciousness. With the sadness and pain of winter, no one should be expected to find the best noodles in town themselves. Luckily for you, we’re unreasonable people. We braved the elements and walked (despite David’s insistence that we Uber) to three popular noodle shops in Evanston. We rated the noodles on a scale from one to three bowls to show you where you should, and shouldn’t, take your next carb craving.
Table to Stix
1007 Davis Street • Rating: 3 bowls
High stools and geometric patterns gave Table to Stix a modern and sleek look. With small tables, the restaurant felt intimate, perfect for small groups and dates. We tried the Classic Tonkotsu Ramen, which was topped with sliced pork, corn, bean sprouts, bamboo, a fish cake, green onions and a seasoned soft-boiled egg. Out of the three restaurants, Table to Stix was the most expensive. A bowl of ramen ranged from $13 to $15.
Our Hot Take: Ramen ranks high on our list of favorite foods, and this was delicious. The broth had a deep pork flavor. It was creamy without being too heavy, and it wasn’t too salty. The texture of the noodles was perfect: just a little chewy. We loved all the toppings. The corn and bean sprouts added crunch and fresh flavor, while the bamboo had a more savory, earthy taste. The pork fat melted in our mouths, making us temporarily forget about the frigid hellscape that awaited us outside. Although well-seasoned, the egg was a little overcooked with the yolk edges nearly cooked all the way. The bowls were enormous, so even though it’s a little pricier, Table to Stix was well-worth the cost.
Viet Nom Nom
618 1/2 Church Street • Rating: 1 bowl
The interior of Viet Nom Nom was forgettable, like most quick-bite restaurants. Although there’s limited seating, the service was quick; the proximity to campus is also a definite perk on a weeknight. Our hunger pangs went crazy when we saw the glowing white neon “nom nom nom” sign, so we both ordered pho with pork, which came with bean sprouts, cilantro, basil, green onion and lime. For an additional 50 cents, we added crispy shallots, totaling just over $10.
Our Hot Take: The first thing we noticed was the texture of the noodles. They seemed undercooked and a bit stiff, which emphasized the lukewarm temperature of the soup. The room-temperature broth was a letdown, especially because we were looking forward to hot soup after being cold outside. The pho didn’t have the beef broth that purists like us expect. In fact, the menu didn’t have beef at all, offering only pork, chicken, tofu and shrimp. On the plus side, the veggie broth option means Viet Nom Nom is vegetarian-friendly. That being said, we don’t plan on going back anytime soon.
1125 Emerson Street • Rating: 2 bowls
Tucked between a Pizza Hut and a Subway, Siam Splendour didn’t look like anything special from the outside. On the inside, however, it was spacious and inviting. Siam Splendour was definitely more of a sit down restaurant, so don’t go in expecting a fast meal. If you frequently eat at Thai restaurants, you can already picture the restaurant’s interior with incense at the door and stylized animal artwork. For just $10, you can get pad thai which is big enough for two full meals.
Our Hot Take: Siam Splendour was a 14-minute walk from campus, a little long for us. Although we were on a mission for noodles, we were hungry, so we ordered the lime chicken appetizer. It blew us away. The crispy chicken was the perfect start to a delicious meal. Once the main course came, we were pleasantly surprised by the amount of chicken in the pad thai. The noodles had a rich peanut flavor without being too sweet, and were complimented by the zestiness of the lime. We were full from the chicken and the large portions. Both of us took pad thai to-go and were thankful we could stay in for dinner.