Yes, the temperatures are dropping and that means you are probably thinking about soup more often. And if you’re like us, that means thinking about Cheu Noodle Bar more often. Ben Puchowitz and Shawn Darragh’s noodly heaven is set for the weather. Chef Ian Boothman is officially in charge of the kitchen and he’s updated the menu. Also new, Melissa Pellegrino is in as the front-of-house and beverage manager and she’s got some new drinks that she’s added to the menu.
At Bing Bing Dim Sum, Ben Puchowitz and Shawn Darragh have been constantly tweaking, changing ingredients, methods and menu items since opening six months ago. And now Darragh tells us they’ve found their groove. And with this latest menu, they’re featuring a streamlined menu of dim sum items and shareable large plates.
On this latest menu jump around the world with pork soup dumplings; Everything Pac Man Buns, served with lox, cream cheese and cucumber, to a South Philly inspired roast pork bao with sharp provolone, long hots and spinach.
As if the ever-changing menu and new happy hour program at Bing Bing Dim Sum weren’t keeping them busy enough, partners Ben Puchowitz and Shawn Daragh are also shaking things up at Cheu Noodle Bar.
They’ve got five new bowls on the menu, plus some tinkery upgrades, and they’re rolling it all out tonight, starting at 5pm. So for those of you out there who’ve been gorging yourselves on soup dumplings and getting messy with pitchers of ginger-flavored happy juice, maybe it’s time to get back to Shawn and Ben’s original fusion laboratory for a change of pace–or maybe just for some peanut noodles with shrimp and Vietnamese pickles because that sounds awesome right about now.
Cheu Noodle Bar [f8b8z]
If restaurateurs were rock stars (and in Philly, they’re as close as we come), Ben Puchowitz and Shawn Darragh would be vintage R.E.M. Whether they’re slinging ramen with brisket and matzo balls, as at Cheu Noodle Bar, or papering the walls of their new Bing Bing Dim Sum with acid-trip dumpling emojis, they have a knack for twisting a budding trend just far enough to make it unmistakably their own. Read more »
Bing Bing Dim Sum announced today that they passed their health inspection, bringing them closer to finally opening. According to owner Shawn Darragh, the plan is to softly open the week of February 9th and aim for the grand opening on either February 16 or 17.
Ben Puchowitz is currently testing his menu, watch the progress on Facebook and Instagram. But check back here early next week for the final product. Bing Bing will be on happening Passyunk Avenue, opposite of Cantina Los Caballitos.
Bing Bing Dim Sum [Foobooz]
So Bing Bing’s construction has come to a slow halt. However, the opening date is still set for some time in late November or early December of this year–provided everything else goes according to plan from here on out.
With that being said, the interior of Bing Bing Dim Sum sounds pretty cool, featuring booths converted from antique Chinese day beds and a large community table that seats 12.
And now we know a few things about the menu as well.
A very satisfying lunch at Cheu Noodle Bar was made that much better with some information on Shawn Darragh’s and Ben Puchowitz’s East Passyunk’s venture. Darragh told me that the 50-seat (plus another 30-seats outdoors) restaurant will be called Bing Bing. Bing is Cantonese for dumplings and Bing Bing is just more fun to say. The former El Zarape will be a dim sum house with a large selection of dumplings and buns.
If all goes well, Darragh and Puchowitz will have their take on dim sum cranking by Labor Day.
Shawn Darragh and Ben Puchowitz have signed a lease for the current El Zarape at 12th, Passyunk and Morris Streets. Passyunk Post has the details on what will not be another Cheu Noodle Bar but a different Asian concept. No doubt inspired by Darragh and Puchowitz’s recent trip through Asia.
El Zarape will be open through March 14th, when it will move to 1304 S 9th Street.
Tonight is another edition of the Alla Spina Industry Night. This month features Ben Puchowitz and Shawn Darragh of Cheu Noodle Bar providing their take on Asian fare, including barbecue pig tails, foie gras buns and sesame noodles. Alla Spina chef, Mike Deganis will be pitching in with Japanese squash pancakes and red bean cakes for dessert.
Lee from Hop Sing Laundromat will also be helping out with some easy-drinking summer fruit cocktails.
All the food is free, the cocktails are $7 and Shiner Ruby Redbird and Bock beers will be just $3.
As always, bring a paystub to show at the door for access. It all starts at 10 p.m.
So for those of you already accustomed to the pace of change at Cheu Noodle Bar, this will come as no surprise, but chef Ben Puchowitz has just updated the menu again. He’s dropped some stuff. He’s added a LOT of stuff (like foie gras meatballs with banana blossoms and plum BBQ sauce, fish ribs with charred corn and bowls of cold buckwheat noodles with caviar, tomato and green papaya). But the biggest thing that got added? A very Cheu-esque manifesto (of sorts) from Ben and his partner, Shawn Darragh. Dig it:
What do we, two dudes from Philly, know about “authentic” Asian cuisine? Nothing. Lucky for us, that’s not what CHeU is all about. We cook what we like to eat — it’s personal, no matter what we put in front of you. Our food is often informed by tradition, but it’s never defined by it. All that we require of you is a willing mind and a willing stomach. We might not be “authentic.” But we do keep it real. —Ben and Shawn
Got it. Screw authenticity and come along for the ride. I like that. And really, when you’re cooking in a place that serves a brisket noodle bowl, pig tails with ramp kimchee, hand-torn noodles with lamb necks and dates and one of the most delicious plates of scrapple ever, you really can’t make any other kind of argument.
As always, you can check out the new menu in its entirety over at Cheu’s website.
Cheu Noodle Bar [the menu]