Taking It to the Streets
Photos by Jaynie Hancock
Introducing Dashi Noodle Bar
Perhaps the oldest form of selling food; other cultures have embraced outdoor eating and travelers tend to think that street food is the true soul food of “real” people. One of Bellingham’s best-known chefs, Josh Silverman (formerly of Nimbus), is bringing the latest culinary trend to Bellingham by opening Dashi Noodle Bar on Unity Street. The “street food” movement is growing at a phenomenal rate in the rest of the country.
The name “Dashi” refers to the delicious savory Japanese broth in which the noodles are served. Chef Josh is combining Pan Asian influences with fresh local ingredients and serving large comforting bowls of steaming noodles. Recently, my “bowl” experience was slow-braised pork with house-made ramen noodles topped with a slow poached egg with nori (seaweed).
Of course everything is made from scratch. The broth is simmered with either beef or mushrooms with Asian spices to create a complex, rich broth. The humble cuts of pork shoulder and beef brisket are slowly braised to coax the entire flavor to the surface. Silverman sources all of his ingredients as locally as possible.
The menu allows diners to customize their “bowl” – the choices being three types of noodles, three types of dashi, tofu, vegetables and meats. Multiple vegan or gluten-free choices make for great eating no matter diners’ nutritional requirements.
The condiment bar is a colorful array of seasonal toppings: beet kimchi, seasonal pickles, limes, sambal, house-made hot sauces, Hoisin sauce, sprouts, cilantro and scallions. Diners customize their bowl with the flavors they enjoy.
A wonderful surprise, Silverman has re-imagined the steam bun, a soft pillowy bun folded around a savory topped with Napa cabbage and a coconut curry or hoisin sauce. This taco-shaped bun is far superior to the traditional steam bun, allowing the filling to be the star rather than the dough. Fill this pillowy bun with coconut custard and top with grated chocolate for a sweet treat.
The menu also includes seasonal chilled rice noodle bowls and appetizers, but the afternoon I had the pleasure of dining there the big bowl of steaming noodles was most comforting.
Looking to the future, Silverman is looking to expand to include a small space to set up a brick-and-mortar noodle bar with longer hours and a place more conducive to the Northwest weather.
Dashi Noodle Bar
207 Unity St.
Tue. - Fri. 11 a.m. - 3 p.m.