Restaurants & Bars

What the Jester Had for Dinner: Cherryblossom Noodle Cafe, Phoenix AZ

JK Grence (the Cosmic Jester) | Jan 31, 200612:04 AM     5

There are a great many places that tout "fusion" cuisine. When you get there, it's hard to tell just what the restaurant's proprietors have decided to fuse. Usually it just seems like the cook just looked at the ingredients and decided to throw something together without regard to any cuisine in particular, and the resulting dishes look like a bunch of restaurant clichés thrown together. There is a restaurant on Camelback at 10th Street that is a refreshing change to all of this, and its name is Cherryblossom Noodle Cafe. At Cherryblossom, you will find two distinctly different cusines; Japanese and Italian. I am pleased to report that just about anything you try will be very pleasing. They definitely excel most at the Japanese dishes, and this shows by the majority of the menu being various rice plates and noodle dishes. This is not surprising, especially considering Cherryblossom is run by the same people who brought Phoenicians the Japanese fast food chain Tokyo Express, and the fast-casual Eastwind. On this visit, my friend selected the beef nanban soba, a delicious mix of thinly sliced beef, spinach, and buckwheat noodles brought together in a wonderfully complex yet light broth. Other visits have brought many wonderful surprises, including some of the best unagi (broiled eel) that I have found. If you aren't sure what to get, go for whatever the daily special is. I have taken that route a few times, and have been delightfully surprised each time.

The Italian dishes all show Japanese influence; for example, the delicious chicken parmigiana is made with chicken prepared katsu style (breaded with panko and fried, then sliced into narrow strips). One of the nice things about this is that if you prefer chopsticks, you'll be able to use them on the Italian dishes too. The parmigiana is refreshingly not covered with a huge glob of mozzarella cheese; while many would consider the mozzarella essential, the lack of it lets the flavor of the parmesan cheese combine with the chicken, pasta, and sauce much better than usual. Many an Italian restaurant that I've visited could learn a thing or two from Cherryblossom about how to properly cook pasta. The noodles here are perfectly al dente and made from quality noodles.

Definitely save room for dessert, they have some of the best sweets in town. Their desserts for once are not overly sweet, providing a refreshing finish. I recommend selecting two contrasting desserts, such as their tropical cake and their chocolate mousse.

Our bill for two (which included an appetizer, two soft drinks, main course, and two desserts) came to about $35, and was certainly worth it. Who would have thought that two contrasting cultures would come together so nicely? (Answer to the hypothetical question: Frank and Eve, the owners of Chino Bandido. But I've already told you about them, so go try Cherryblossom this time!)

Link: http://www.cherryblossom-az.com

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