Jihye Chang

Fargo’s Newest Restaurants

The owners of Leela and Thai Orchid opened a noodle bar called “Drunken Noodle,” on NP avenue (the old Green Market location) recently. Drunken Noodle is a name of a Thai noodle dish. I read about this dish in “Bon Appetit” magazine a few years ago – that it is a very spicy noodle that makes you drink a lot of water afterward, hence the name. Drunken Noodle serves not too spicy drunken noodle along with several noodle dishes and pasta dishes. This restaurant used to be the Green Market. It is spacious and simply decorated. All the dishes are under $7, and food is served super fast. Pad Thai is too sweet for my taste, and the drunken noodle dish has too much jalapeno taste in it (and a bit too salty). But Bah Mee Gaeng (Coconut soup with noodle) is tasty, although it sometimes contains too much fish sauce. This restaurant is open until 3am on Fridays and Saturdays. Someday I will go there at 2am, eat the Bah Mee Gaeng super spicy, and then head to Fargo Coffee Co. for some espresso..!

Update (Sep. 21, 2009) - I went to the Drunken Noodle at 12:30am on September 19, Saturday, and it was packed..! Amazing. I wonder if it’d be the same when it’s -30F outside. :D

Another new restaurant is Kobe’s. I visited that place three times with my husband and friends, and my husband decided that he never wants to go back. It is an OK place for family gatherings or experiencing “hibachi” (the fire show and everything), but not for sushi – especially the rolls. They are big but not a lot of fish slices are used (the proportion between rice and fish seems off in general). Sushi rice seems to be poor quality (somewhat gummy and sticky), and all the sauces they use for rolls and appetizers are too sweet and mayonnaise-like. Service is friendly and fast/ prices are not bad.

Update (October 2009) – I convinced my husband once more to visit Kobe’s with some of our friends. It was rather a disappointment, and I don’t want to go back there, either. Rolls are covered with too much sauce and rice is still gummy, grilled dishes are too sweet (especially their teriyaki sauce – too gluey and has unpleasant taste). Kobe’s website states that the chef at Kobe’s consider the rolls are “all about sauces.” Well, there you go. I think I will pass on those sauces and eat something else. Salmon Passion was pretty good, but that was the only thing that we liked among about 6 dishes we ordered that night. Kobe’s  is doing really well, though. I think it hit the right note with a lot of people, just not with me or my husband.

Update #2 (December 2009 and January 2010) – Wasabi restaurant opened at the back of Drunken Noodle. I like a few of their rolls (Nothern pacific and spicy salmon). In my opinion it is better than Kobe’s as the balance between the rice and other ingredients is much better, and the overall taste is cleaner, but I have not ordered their nigiri or sashimi. (In fact I almost never order Nigiri sushi or sashimi in any of the small city sushi places. Most of these places use frozen fish and pre-cooked or prepared ingredients. For example one cannot expect unagi or egg rolls cooked from scratch from any Japanese restaurants in mid-small cities in the states. I have eaten a lot of sushi and sashimi in various places from Japan to New York City, and I know what I like and what’s worth my money. Wasabi has a few things that I would spent my money on. Wasabi also serves Korean style Galbi (or Calbi – short ribs marinated in sweet soy mixture and grilled) and Bulgogi. Galbi was pretty good (standard restaurant taste, so to speak), but Bulgogi was a bit too salty and the meat was not of a good quality. They also added a few lunch box items. Bulgogi lunch box is $9 (Galbi box is $15), and it comes with soup, rice, 2 pieces of California roll, fried chicken pieces, salad, and bulgogi or galbi. Decent taste and decent price that’s worth a try. I would not say it’s a great restaurant, but it’s in downtown -and I love Fargo downtown!- and it’s good enough. So I will probably go back there again when I have some roll-craving or seaweed salad craving..

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8 Responses to “Fargo’s Newest Restaurants”

  1. Char | November 27th, 2009 at 2:41 pm

    I like Kobe ok – but their lunch boxes are no Yuki Hana (so sad they closed).

  2. Jihye Chang | February 25th, 2010 at 12:33 pm

    Hey – I heard that Yuki Hana might open again. Also the new Wasabi has a few lunch box items that are good for the price. ($10 for a box with Bulgogi, a few pieces of California rolls, salad, fried chicken, etc.)

  3. Jihye Chang » Blog Archive » Cool things in Fargo | March 2nd, 2010 at 11:45 pm

    [...] Fargo’s Newest Restaurants [...]

  4. Stephanie Wilson | March 14th, 2010 at 3:18 pm

    I will not eat sushi from anywhere but Kobe’s! I was at the Drunken Noodle and decided to try some of the sushi from Wasabi just to see how it compared and i couldn’t finish it. It just wasn’t as good. There was too much veggies and rice and not enough fish. The fish didn’t seem as fresh as Kobe’s either, all together, it was rather disappointing.

  5. Jihye Chang | March 15th, 2010 at 8:00 pm

    Hi Stephanie – thanks for your comment. It’s fun to see how different people have different impression/ feeling toward these two places. I personally don’t like how Kobe makes their rolls (too much rice, too big, too much sauce, etc.) but there seem to be many people who like Kobe’s rolls and nigiris. And sometimes, like you said, the fish at Wasabi seems less fresh than other days. Now that Yuki Hana will be open again (and will have chef Shen, who used to work at the Sushi Time) it will be more fun for people to choose from!

  6. Ana | March 23rd, 2010 at 11:52 pm

    I lived in LA and NY for several years and tried many popular sushi places. I also have tried both Kobe’s and Wasabi. I prefer Wasabi because the freshness of the fish is far better and the portion of rice and fish is more balance. I totally agree with Jihye in many parts except the idea of frozen fish taste. I think that the issue should be taste vs. safety. I heard that both restaurants order their fish from the same supplier, so it only depends which restaurant order it more frequent then the freshness comes with that. The sushi fish has to be frozen to pass the health code from the health department. ” All fish, including seawater fish, may contain parasites. Although the risk is small, people at greater risk, including older people, small children and pregnant women, should be careful when eating raw fish. To kill the parasites, the fish needs to be frozen and then stored at -4 degrees F (-20 degrees C) for at least 24 hours. Your sushi fish should have been frozen this way”

  7. Ana | March 24th, 2010 at 12:03 am

    More article of frozen fish,
    http://foodfrenzy.freedomblogging.com/2009/10/06/are-we-all-eating-previously-frozen-sushi/12129/

  8. Jihye Chang | March 24th, 2010 at 11:53 am

    Hello Ana – thank you so much for your comment and information. I did not know that it was actually required by the health regulation. I though it was just because a lot of places in America can’t get fresh fish for sushi. In Korea or Japan, sushi restaurants use more seasonal and fresh caught (then matured) fish, but I think it’s hard to expect that in America. The main reason that I mentioned something about “frozen fish” part of Wasabi (and other sushi restaurants) is because someone mentioned to me that “Sushi without fresh fish is not real Japanese sushi. Wasabi is not really a sushi restaurant.” I don’t agree with that argument as sushi is as much as rice as it is fish, unlike sashimi.
    Anyways..thanks again for the helpful comment!

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