Mr. J Hand-Pulled Noodle might be easier to find if the big sign out front didn’t say Crab & Wings. But what do I know about marketing?
Mr. J occupies a small storefront in a strip mall at Silver Star and Clarke Roads on the west side. As the name suggests – the other name, not the Crab & Wings – it specializes in Asian style hand-pulled noodles, which, you won’t be surprised to learn, are noodles that are pulled by hand.
What that means is that instead of, say, Italian pasta where the dough is flattened and then cut to the preferred noodle size, the dough is rolled and stretched, then looped and stretched again. And again, until the desired noodle type is achieved. No rolling, no cutting. (Well, some style of noodles are cut using a planing tool.)
But just like Italian pasta, hand-pulled noodles come in various widths and thicknesses, each one meant to be used depending on the ingredients.
I wish Mr. J offered more guidance for pairing the noodle types with the various dishes. And I’d like to say the staff is eager to help, but that wasn’t my experience.
Eight styles of noodles are displayed on a screen behind the counter where orders are placed. You make your entree choice and then select the noodle style.
I ordered the bolognese, which bore only a slight resemblance to the Italian meat sauce, paired with thick noodles (number seven and the thickness scale). The noodles were long and chewy and wonderfully slurpable. The crumbled pork sauce was mildly seasoned and had a handful of coriander for added flavor. A dash of hot sauce helped.
The hand pulling process is something to watch when executed by an expert and it’s a shame that Mr. J isn’t out front instead of hidden behind the kitchen doors. But at least you can taste the results of the labor.
Mr. J Hand-Pulled Noodle is at 1688 E. Silver Star Road, Ocoee (map). It is open for lunch and dinner Monday through Saturday. The phone number is 407-930-6699.