Hot Meal: Noodle Theory in the Marina
Noodle Theory recently opened in the Marina (3242 Scott at Lombard, 359-1238), a branch of chef-owner Louis Kao's popular fusion noodle shop across the bay in Rockridge. The San Francisco outpost is a sleek modern place with wood-topped tables.
We dropped by for lunch, and tried fried wontons ($7), a dish we usually avoid, on the recommendation of a friend who's a fan of Noodle Theory's version. We're still dubious about the concept, but the filling of goat cheese and yau choy (a Chinese green also known, unfortunately, as rape) was miles better than the usual cream cheese stuffing. We loved the fat grilled asparagus ($6) squiggled with an intensely mustardy aioli -- we asked for more aioli on the side, for the sadly unsquiggled asparagus at the bottom of the stack, and it was cheerfully brought to us.
We also enjoyed crumbled Niman Ranch pork in hot, spicy bean sauce, served over noodles ($8.50), with cooling, crunchy julienned cucumber and a scattering of chopped scallions -- a portion large enough to serve two.
A thick, juicy miso-glazed salmon BLT (inspired no doubt by the salmon corollary to the Bacon Theory: everything's better with salmon) was served with house-made chips (that's the freebie sesame-seed-dusted edamame you see at its side).
The almond tapioca panna cotta, with diced mango and strawberries, was lush, creamy, and also generous in size.