Stepping inside Nudi on Southeast Woodstock is like entering into an off-off-Broadway production of A Midsummer Nights Dream: tree bark is grafted over the bar, pinholes are poked into the ceiling to emulate a starry night, and moss covers the walls from top to bottom—even hanging in clumps from the chandelier. If you think the interior is curious, wait until you try the food. It’s a total gallimaufry of ethnicities whipped up with Thai noodle obsession into one of the weirdest fusions Portland has ever seen.
From a four-paneled menu of fryer-heavy starters, familiar American-Thai staples and “Nudi Signatures,” a bizarre food adventure unfolds. Japanese ramen and Malaysian laksa share space on the same page as “al a Kee Mow,” a traditional Thai dish served with spaghetti instead of flat noodles. Sauces span Asia and pastas traverse Europe. Some noodles are hand-made, and ingredients are locally sourced from Portland-area farms, but flavor profiles clash and pasta is cooked to gummy excess.
A few dishes break through the intercontinental confusion. A solidly Italian bowl of slick, jet-black squid-ink pasta with calamari coils is tossed simply in butter, garlic and rosemary with luxurious results. A non-noodle starter comes in a paper bag with whole chicken wings fried in spicy roasted rice powder, covering a bed of chile flakes, coriander, mint and basil; dump in the side of scorching Thai chile sauce and give it a shake—you can’t go wrong.
Nudi is only two and a half months old, and there’s no telling where it will go from here. With Reed students and Eastmoreland families packing in for their funky wares and occasional gems, Nudi is already making a name for itself. With a little direction and some fusion finesse, this could be a place to watch.
Nudi Noodle Place
4310 SE Woodstock Blvd.
Mon – Fri: Lunch, 11am- 3pm; Dinner, 5pm-10pm