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Urban Noodle Fine-Tunes for Monday Opening

By Pamela Rouse
Published: Friday, February 26, 2010, at 03:31PM
Urban Noodle Pamela Rouse [Flickr]

Opening Monday, new eatery Urban Noodle replaces the Old Bank District's Warung Cafe.



Residents of the Old Bank District yesterday got their first taste of Urban Noodle, the new casual eatery taking over for Warung Cafe.

Warung closed Christmas week, and a mysterious "What is Urban Noodle?" sign was hung on its door and posted on the new eatery's Facebook page. A short two months later, the restaurant opens its doors to the public on Monday, March 1.

Last night's first serving was for 40 winners of a lottery held for Old Bank residents. Another neighborhood tasting is planned for Saturday. As with any early opening, service and dish preparation are still being tuned. Preview diners are being asked to fill out surveys about the dishes they've ordered.

Service and preparation are being tuned as diners fill out survey forms about the dishes.

Renovations focused on making the cafe a brighter spot to eat, with white walls and a projector showing noodle and food-based films. During Thursday's tasting, Ang Lee's "Eat Drink Man Woman" was shown.

Ada and Arlene Tai, co-General Managers, partnered with developer Tom Gilmore on "Warung Wednesday's" at the end of 2009. As it became clear that the restaurant was going to close, the women pitched several different menu concepts for a replacement. The concept not only had to work with the small dining room available, but also be able to be served from a kitchen where space was at a premium. "This type seemed the best suited," Ada said.

"We always loved noodles," added Arlene.

"The value would be there," Ada commented. They wanted customers to be out the door having spent no more than $15 or $20.

When looking for a chef, they picked three or four dishes for the chef candidates to see what they did with them. Urban Noodle's chef, Kin Kwok Mu -- aka "Kim" -- has had a lengthy career. He has worked for Mr Chow in Bevery Hills, as well at the restaurant's London location. He worked in Las Vegas and then as a Senior Instructor Chef at Martin Yan's Culinary Arts Center outside Hong Kong.

All Kim's noodles are handmade from homemade dough, using a special flour that the chef sought out.

Customers will find very reasonably priced appetizers of tofu with edamame, steamed pork dumplings, and the very flavorful pepper and salt chicken wings. Entrees include noodle dishes such as spicy beef stew noodle or soupless noodle dishes like beef chow fun flat noodles.

Delivery service is shared with next door Rocket Pizza, also a Gilmore restaurant, so customers who want to order noodles and pizza at the same time are in luck.

Monday's soft opening will bring normal hours, but no 'grand opening' will be set until the restaurant has had a few weeks to get up and running.

Urban Noodle / 118 W. 4th / 213-626-0662 / 11am-10pm, Mon-Fri; 6-10pm, Saturdays / Facebook Page / @UrbanNoodleLA

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