Yum Yum’s busy kitchen whips up multiple dishes at a time
There are tons of potential combinations, but chef Mahlkuch says the most ordered is the traditional noodle bowl: ramen with pork and pork broth. Seitan with rice noodles and coconut curry broth runs a close second. Seasonal ingredients are always revolving into the dishes, whether spring fiddleheads as a vegetable or a mushroom broth.
With the exception of the noodles (imported from Japan), everything is made in-house, including Korean pepper paste, umeboshi sauce, seitan, kimchi, and broths.
“We are not trying to be a traditional Japanese restaurant because we can’t be. We are not Asian. And we’ll freely sample from different cuisines, like Mongolian,” says Moeys.
Which is why you’ll also find surprises like zucchini tempura buns with lemon aïoli, or chocolate and ginger cream cupcakes on the menu.
A food truck also makes appearances at festivals. Be on the lookout!
Yaki Soba at Gomen-Kudasai
Gomen Kudasai in New Paltz takes a completely different approach. Here, it’s all about tradition. Owner Yuoko, a native of Japan and a Manhattan transplant, happily gives lessons in noodle slurping.
“The best way to enjoy the taste is by slurping,” she says. “It’s when liquid is mixed with oxygen — that’s when you can taste the real flavor. If it’s a hot noodle you can enjoy the hotness, or if it’s cool you can enjoy the coolness. Noodles are a long food, so by slurping, you can get the texture, temperature, and taste. That’s the only way to eat them. There’s no chewing noodles, it’s not right.”
Here, patrons don’t design their own dishes but instead order from choices on the menu. But there are so many possibilities, hot and cold, one could hardly complain. If you’re eating gluten-free, try the shiritaki yam noodles in a soup or mung bean noodles in a stir-fry. The restaurant’s hot soba noodle soup choices include seaweed (the secret of youth, says Yuoko), tofu, vegetable, sliced beef and onion, or pork and kimchi. Her homemade warishita, loosely translated as “mother sauce,” is a key ingredient in her broth, as well as her zaru and bukkake sauces to accompany cold udon and soba noodles. A special treat: bukkake soba with roshi and shake — soba served in an ice cold bowl with grated daikon radish, broiled Norwegian salmon, and spinach. While you’re there, try the house-made gyoza and rice balls, too.
If you’re feeling hungry, adventurous, and spontaneous, pay a visit to Rockland County’s UNoodles Snack Bar. The clock above the bar, which is set to times in different places around the world, is your first clue that this Haverstraw hot spot is hard to pin down. Owned by El Salvadoran chef Jose David Martinez and his French partner Paulo Feteira, this is about as international as it gets. A more laid-back atmosphere than Union, the duo’s other restaurant around the corner, UNoodles might not be ultra fancy but it’s still sophisticated and chic, a casual fine-dining spot where a noodle bowl and yucca hushpuppies can coexist on the same menu.
“It’s a casual, last-minute place to go,” says Feteira. “A place you don’t have to think too much about.”
In the middle of the restaurant, diners gather around a big communal table — made from salvaged bowling alley planks — that sits 18, while smaller tables line the room. The atmosphere is convivial, with people popping in to meet friends, often for a quick drink at the U-shaped bar and an appetizer — maybe chicken and lemongrass dumplings with ponzu sauce. In warm weather, the garage-style front doors open to the street, creating a bistro-like, street-side dining feel.
Noodles here mean more than Asian: They share space on the menu with pasta. The crowd-pleasing Piggy Bowl pairs ramen noodles with pulled pork, napa cabbage, and a hard-boiled egg, in the classic style. Udon Sakana is a lovely presentation of bok choy and mushrooms in a spicy fish broth.
Stir-fried egg noodle with Asian vegetables also tempts. Plenty of other Eastern-influenced dishes dot the menu, including teriyaki pork, “kind of like a barbecue pizza, Asian-style,” says Feteira.
Yum Yum Woodstock (845-679-7992), Kingston (845-338-1400); yumyumnoodlebar.com
Gomen-Kudasai New Paltz. 845-255-8811; gomenkudasainy.com
UNoodles Snack Bar Haverstraw. 845-947-7625; unoodles.net