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Bone broth noodle soup at Bone Kettle
Erica Allen

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Bone Kettle’s Noodle Soup Is the Perfect Ramen Alternative

Pasadena’s slick new Southeast Asian restaurant makes one healthy bowl of noodles

A lot of stock gets put into just how healthy bone broth is, but that’s not why you should eat the namesake noodle soup at the recently opened Bone Kettle in Pasadena. It’s actually because Chef Erwin Tjahyadi’s bone broth noodle soup occupies a mental space reserved for ramen and Taiwanese beef noodle soups — and the dish might be my choice over both of those options.

Bone Kettle’s minimalist aesthetic is decidedly upscale; the heavy isola flatware, the beautiful mural that spans the dining room wall, the pithy menu with prices capped at two significant figures. They’re all touches that cater to the Old Pasadena dining set. Enter bone broth noodle soup.

Erica Allen

Springy, perfectly cooked Sun Noodles rest in a bowl topped with baby carrots, mushrooms, red chili peppers and scattered micro greens. Servers then bring over a vacuum flask of the good stuff: Bone broth that’s been long-simmered with garlic, onion, ginger, and a blend of spices. This broth then gets poured into the bowl, and—ta da—noodle soup.

On first taste, it’s evident the broth is made with care. It lacks that distinctive stench you get from boiling beef tendon and marrow thanks to the ginger. And don’t let the small inclusions of grease bubbles fool you because the finish is clean, savory and infinitely crave-worthy, with the vegetables perfectly portioned to give you a bit in each spoonful. It’s a balancing act of extraordinary finesse, from a chef who looks like he could punch a mountain into submission and play the live-action Johnny Bravo.

I should probably also mention it’s $10 for a bowl, which is enough for a light dinner and squarely in “bowl of noodle soup” territory. Sure, you can “add proteins,” which, if you feel like adding a $38 shareable-sized order of beef rib that’s been cooked sous vide and finished to melting, charred, fatty perfection, be my guest. It’s also worth the price of admission. And yes, there are can’t-miss shareable appetizers (keep an eye out for those sous-vide flash-fried oxtails topped with chilis). But your experience will center around the spectacular bowl of noodle soup.

Bone broth noodle soup with a side of beef rib
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