99 Essential Restaurants 2014

Pa Ord Noodle

photo by Anne Fishbein

If you somehow arrive at Pa Ord unaware that you’ve entered the grounds of a noodle specialist, surely you will gather as much from the four jars lining the restaurant’s counter, each filled with different types of noodles of varying lengths and thickness. Indeed, Pa Ord might be the best noodle-intensive shop in its Hollywood neighborhood, a place so focused on its specialty that you’ll be asked to refer to those numbered jars and specify which one you’d like to swim in your boat noodle soup’s murky, offal-intense broth. You can’t go wrong, really, with any of the jars; you also can’t go wrong choosing any other noodle dish on the menu. There’s the terrific yen ta fo (seafood noodle soup), for instance, or noodles with BBQ pork. Even the flat, wide noodles in a dish as seemingly routine as pad see ew are so lovely that some customers have been known to come back the next day for another round.

-- Tien Nguyen