Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Good chow, more valet parking

Posted By on Tue, Dec 14, 2010 at 11:29 AM

I made a quick stop by the new Real Chow Baby (782 Ponce de Leon Ave.) last night. I always enjoy the Westside one, so I'm glad to have one closer to my neighborhood.

It was arctic-cold last night but irritation heated me up quickly on seeing yet another parking valet sign. I didn't see anyone around, so I parked myself. Then I literally bumped into the valet on my way into the restaurant. I said, "I parked myself." He said...nothing. Not that I gave him the chance.

The parking lot there may well not be large enough if business gets as good as it is on the Westside, but I want the option to park myself if the lot is half-empty, as it was last night. This new epidemic of parking valets in dubious locations is really bizarre. I suppose it helps reduce muggings.

Despite the half-empty parking lot, the restaurant was virtually full and I ate at the bar. The Real Chow Baby is a build-it-yourself noodle and rice shop with countless ingredients available for stir-frying. I reported here that some local chefs had designed signature noodle bowls at its opening event. When I asked several employees behind the stir-fry bar where I could find descriptions of those bowls, I got a series of blank looks. Finally, I bothered to look up and found them described on the wall.

"You're the first to order one of these," an employee told me.

I ordered Shaun Doty's Beltline bowl and, while it didn't have all the ingredients listed, it was quite good — and hot as hell, owing to an overabundance of jalapenos, half of which I threw aside. The sign says it also includes lo mein noodles, beef, peanuts, mint, garlic, mushrooms, cabbage, lime, sambal and Thai cilantro. I didn't come across any mushrooms and, if there was cabbage, it was grilled beyond recognition.

Give it a try.

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