Cheu Noodle Bar
Ben Puchowitz and Shawn Darragh’s Asian-esque eatery doesn’t take itself too seriously — except in matters of flavor.
The tiny Washington Square hideaway was always meant to offer diners clever riffs on traditional dishes in a laid-back setting.
The red and gold room — papered with cookbook pages and hung with paper lanterns and light strings — always feels like a party, with just enough room to fit a bar, open kitchen and seat 28 people (some along the bar).
Because of the size and the avid fan base its cooking inspires, the place is nearly always packed, and its chef-owners continue to cultivate citywide cravings for off-kilter cooking while expanding their restaurant holdings.
Open for lunch and dinner, Cheu also runs a mean happy hour with $5 snacks and discounted beer, sake and cocktails.
Ben Puchowitz and Shawn Darragh’s Asian-esque eatery doesn’t take itself too seriously—except in matters of flavor.
The whimsical cooking here crosses borders and back again, stuffing samosa rangoons with curried potato and goat cheese; swirling brisket ramen with matzo balls and kimchi; pairing sweet and sour Brussels sprouts with tofu and Amish pickles.
With a limited size kitchen, the number of offerings is highly curated: just five small plates and six bowls that can be customized with add-ons like soy-marinated egg and bok choy, though the chefs will make dietary swaps as needed.
The same sense of playfulness applies to the cocktails, like the Doo Wop, which combines gin, sake, cucumber, Thai basil and lemon and a high/low menu of canned beer. Beyond that, drinkers can sample a few wines by the glass and a select list of spirits.
With a limited size kitchen, the number of offerings at Cheu is highly curated.
— Photo by C. Smyth for Visit Philadelphia
What began as a series of pop ups staged by two longtime friends in restaurants around the city evolved into a proper restaurant.
In 2013, after over a year of trial runs, the pair opened their brick and mortar location on 10th Street to immediate fanfare.
After some retooling, they left behind their original idea of pulling all handmade noodles to incorporate other dishes on the menu.
Now there are two Cheus, including a more expansive outpost in Fishtown, and a Bing Bing Dim Sum bar in East Passyunk, serving similarly fun small bites. Nunu, a Japanese-inspired bar in Fishtown, will open in 2018 and share a patio with the Cheu location next door.
There are two Cheus, including a more expansive outpost in Fishtown.
— Photo by J. Fusco for Visit Philadelphia
The Puchowitz/Darragh vision has become a beloved guiding aesthetic, with a growing roster of restaurants in the group based on three concepts. Explore their other eateries around the city:
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