What do you do when you wake up New Year’s Day with a hangover headache and two misbehaving spirited children on your hands? You say a prayer, drink some water and head to the new noodle bar for some ramen and beer.
Lucky for you, the new noodle place is West Pac Noodle Bar. It’s already packed to the gills with chopstick-wielding diners and beer-sipping day drinkers, even though it just opened to the public a mere hour ago. More than 24 taps pour local craft beers including the Modern Times Fruitlands Passion Fruit & Guava (just the ticket!)
The energy is vibrant, steamy and fun. It’s loud enough to drown out your children, but not so crazy that you can’t have a conversation. The décor pops: thoughtful and edgy with lots of Asian flair. A trip to the bathroom reveals some surprising cat art (well Hello, Kitty!) and some street-style graffiti.
Onto the food. (Obviously, we have a theme here: “West Pac” references a naval deployment to Western Pacific waters. This includes travels to Japan, Thailand, Singapore and Hawaii. So the full menu will be sort of a “Best Of” Western Pacific cuisine.)
The soft-opening, limited lunch menu is small but packed with tasty offerings including pho, ramen, and…my favorite…poke! I was delighted to see some gluten-free options like the Skinny Noodles. You can also order your poke over mixed greens instead of rice for a no-carb option. (I see myself taking advantage of this as I prepare for a trip to Miami next month. But this was not the time to deprave myself of carbs.)
This is a casual, walk-up eatery so you order at the counter. We got the Ramen with chicken, the skinny noodles, and a spicy ahi poke prepared Volcano-style (that’s with wakame, pickled ginger, jalapeno, sweet onion and nori.) All dishes came out hot and tasty, and they even let my youngest order a side of rice for $1.
The ramen was comforting and yummy, (love the soft boiled egg!) and the skinny noodles were tasty and veggie-packed.
But I’m really a sucker for the poke. I love the volcano-style prep (you had me at jalapeno) and the nori was a nice touch. I can see myself coming back and getting that again in the very near future.
And I definitely want to try out the happy hour menu, which will reportedly feature $1 dumplings (how can you resist?) as well as $5 drafts and sake specials. (Happy hour coming soon, set to run 3-6pm.) I also see myself trying my hand at a sake cocktail, preferably with passion fruit and guava.
The consensus? Tasty offerings, fast service and a fun, playful vibe. West Pac Noodle kicks up the Coronado dining scene a notch with a novel, adventurous approach.
Also, there is something ridiculously fun about watching your kids eat noodles with chopsticks.
Happy New Year, and thanks for reading!