Well, for those of us who work in the Civic Center, any new lunch option is worth checking out. International Noodle House opened a week or two ago in the space formerly occupied by Lyon's at the corner of Van Ness and Turk. For you old-timers, this was the site of Speedo 690, back in the day.
Anyway, I went with three colleagues, and overall we were not impressed. They serve pretty much just noodle dishes, the hook being that the dishes are based on Thai, Hong Kong, Japanese, Vietnamese, and, yes, Italian cuisines. There are also some fried rice dishes and a few salads. Most of the dishes are to be ordered with your choice of protein -- not a good sign that one can order pad thai with beef -- but you'd have to ask specially to get a different kind of noodle.
Prices were in the $5.49 to $7.99 range (every price ended in 9) for entrees; smaller dishes were less. We ordered a beef fried rice, a pad see yew with chicken, another chicken/veg/gravy combination with noodles, and for me, the tempura udon. Our food came in three shifts, which was a bummer, though we got quick help from a manager when we asked about the last dish that hadn't arrived. Nothing was truly wretched, just not very good. The udon broth was more salty than flavorful, but I've had worse. My colleagues were not enthusiastic but didn't really complain either -- you get the picture.
By 12:15 the place was full, and people were waiting to sit. I suspect people are trying it now for the novelty but that it could do pretty well. Chevy's, QuizNo's and California Pizza Kitchen are booming just down the street, so there's a market for this kind of food. But really, there's no reason to eat at International Noodle House when the delights of Larkin Street are just two blocks away.
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