PAPER CITY January 2003

By Laurann Claridge
Is it Hot in Here or is it Just Us?
Ogling Noodles

When you open a restaurant at the edge of downtown in what we'll generously describe as a nondescript shopping center, it would behoove you to have some kind of shtick - because, dahling, the architecture sure isn't a lure. Luckily Jenni Tran-Weaver and her husband Scott, owners of a quirky little Vietnamese place called Jenni's Noodle House, get it. In the shadow of Chinatown and the behemoth Kim Son, this kitschy little joint is loads of fun. With Euro-lounge music spinning on the CD player (very Sloan/Hall - we hear the boys are fans of Jenni's, too) lunchtime noodle slurpers search desperately for a seat, which isn't always easy to find. The cheecky menu boasts $3 steals (apps like Suhm Spring Rolls and Disco Dumplings), $5 deals (noodle soups, pho and fried rice: and $7 meals (shrimp studded soups and coconut-milk-laced curries that will blow your knit cap off). And don't even think about leaving without ordering desert. Their dessert diva bakes up moist American-style layer cakes and sweets that take the spicy edge off your palate. In the mood for something sold on the Richmond strip or those questionable "modeling studios" around the corner? Order Scott's special lap dance for 50 bucks - not to vice squad: they're not really serious. (We told you this place had an offbeat vibe.) Or walk away with one of their funky T-shirts with saying such as "Madonna eats here," "Ozzy brought the kids" and our fave, "My noodle is bigger than your noodle."


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