Noodlehead. Noodlehead, Noodlehead.
How do I count the ways I love thee?
Let me try….
I have lost count of the times my boyfriend and I have dined at this lovely establishment ten times over, so when I realized I needed to return to take photos for this post, feeling thrilled and excited is an understatement. I honestly feel excitement each and every single time we decide to eat here. Whether it be a Saturday date night (which we do pretty frequently – it’s literally across the street!!) or a Monday night that we’ve turned into a date night because of our denial another work week has just begun (also perfect).. Noodlehead hits the spot.
It’s decor is comfortable and warm. Simply put. The perfect mix of dim, low-hanging filament lightbulbs paired with their natural light streaming in from the large windows of the front entrance, makes this place feels like home. It’s anything but fussy.. there are lines of wooden 2-top tables and a few larger ones, bar-style window seating, and walls lined with beautiful, distressed wood-paneling. Unassuming, uncomplicated, minimal.
It’s BYOB… enough said. If there’s one thing that pairs better with $9 thai noodles than beautiful decor and friendly, uncomplicated service.. it’s the ability to walk to the liquor store a block away and buy our favorite bottle of $14.99 Malbec. (We fancy.)
We usually start with the Steamed Pork Buns ($6). When served, there are two, perfectly sized sandwiches of pillowy, porky perfection. Nestled within their delectably sweet bun is a savory sauce, a generous helping of the melt-in-your mouth pulled pork belly, fresh, crisp pickles and punchy scallions/cilantro. Although I could eat 10 of these in one sitting, it is the perfect portion for 2 people.
Then on to the noodles. Oh, the noodles. There are 2 price categories for noodles: $6 and $9. I mean, come on. If that isn’t good enough for you, you should also know that the portions are large enough for a filling dinner + leftovers. (Admittedly, I have found myself leaving less and less to bring home – I just can’t stop.) When we started coming here, I was all about that Chiang Mai Curry, which is savory and coconuty, characterized by the thin noodles and chicken, and accented with pops of pickled mustard green and crunch. But lately I’ve found myself a new love, the See Yew Noodles with Chicken.. at a 4. (An important note: most Thai places I’ve been have a 1-10 spice scale, 10 being Thai Hot. Noodlehead is 1-5, 4 being Thai Hot, and 5 is Crazy Hot. I started at a modest 1, but because of my love for this place, I’ve earned a tolerance for the hurt-so-good burn of the Thai Hot 4. I’ve gone for the 5, but I just couldn’t bare it.) The big, flat noodles of the See Yew are consistently perfectly cooked, soft and savory, and the broccoli and bok choy are the perfect crunchy addition to this mildly sweet noodle dish. Ah, I miss Noodlehead just writing this.
The service is another point that I MUST touch on. I am not into fussy service. I like a knowledgeable, friendly staff that enjoys bringing food to the customers. Noodlehead is the epitome of this. Upon seating, they bring you a large bottle of water, glasses, and uncork your wine. You order, your food arrives in less than 10 minutes.. and they bring you your check. Water is refilled if necessary, and they usually check on you once. In comparison to the snappy service, I recently went with some dear friends moving out of state, so naturally, it took us a WHILE to even place our order. We had alot of gabbing to do. Even in this case, they perfectly gauged when to return and ask us again if we were ready to order. You leave full, buzzed, relaxed and happy. IT’S PERFECTION, PEOPLE.
In summary, this is one of my favorite restaurants in Pittsburgh.
Overall experience: 5
(can you tell I love it here?)
A few nuggets of advice:
– It gets busy. We like to go early (cause we’re like seniors) but anything after 7 you’ll probably hit a wait, especially on the weekends.
– To this point, no reservations. In fact, I don’t even think they advertise their phone number. JUST GO.
– It’s spicy!! Don’t push yourself. My bf ordered a 4 during our first visit, despite my warning, and there was some strugglin’.
– BYOthatB. It’s the perfect place to relax and enjoy the atmosphere. (And I’m no sommelier, but I love a good red wine with some spicy thai – or a thick, malty beer.)
– If you’re a party of 2, a “snack” (such as the pork buns or the fried chicken) and 2 entrees is the perfect amount. If you’re a larger party, you could order a few off both sections and share everything. Just ask for some extra plates!
– It’s cash only – but don’t fret – there is an ATM conveniently located in the back right corner of the restaurant.
Now please – go. Go enjoy the gift that is this friendly neighborhood Thai Street Noodle establishment.
Open Daily Noon – 10pm
242 South Highland Ave.
Pittsburgh, PA 15232