On a recent snowy Thursday night, condensation dripped from the windows at Delite & Bowl Noodle House in Edwards. As a woman stepped in the door, she removed her glasses as they fogged over from the rush of humidity. It was a perfect night for the warm, comforting fare that restaurant owner Xin Barron serves up at the cozy restaurant, which opened in December.
The words “comfort food” generally conjure up visions of rich, heavy dishes, such as macaroni and cheese and creamy beef stroganoff and the like. Not here. Barron prides herself on serving made-from-scratch noodle bowls, curries, dumplings and spring rolls, all made using natural, unprocessed ingredients.
“We don’t use canned food. There’s no preservatives or MSG. We make it as fresh as we can,” she said.
It’s the sort of restaurant she couldn’t find locally when she moved here from Southern California three years ago with her husband and two sons, now ages 16 and 10. So the China native decided to open her own and serve primarily her own recipes.
“California had a variety of restaurant choices, but even there we didn’t eat out a lot because I believe in natural ingredients,” Barron said. “My dream has always been to have something I could eat with my kids and husband without worry, without thinking we’re eating something that’s not good for us.”
Comforting and good for you
Often times after skiing, her family would come home and ask her to make them a soup to warm them.
“After skiing, your body needs something warm and comforting, but comfort food that’s not so rich so that after you eat it, you still feel good,” she said.
That’s what she wanted to offer to visitors and locals alike, she said.
So far, feedback has been good and she’s been seeing the same faces return. On the night we visited, the restaurant was three-quarters full.
“I’ve been getting very, very positive feedback from returning customers, which is really encouraging and rewarding,” Barron said. “Every time a customer comes in and tells me how good the food is, and that the Vail Valley needed a restaurant like this, it’s a great feeling.”
The menu at Delite & Bowl (available in paper or on a mini iPad available at select tables, with colorful photos of each dish and the ability to send the order straight to the kitchen, bypassing the wait staff) is fairly simple, with a page of appetizer offerings and a page of five noodle (choose Chinese noodles or clear rice noodles, which are gluten free) soup bowl offerings.
On the appetizer side, try the seaweed salad, which is very different from the traditional Japanese seaweed salad with a string-like texture you might be used to ordering in sushi joints. Made from sheets of seaweed and topped with edamame and green onion, the salad is dressed minimally, with sesame oil, vinegar and red pepper flakes. It’s simple and delicious.
“That’s the seaweed salad we eat in China, and that’s how I like to serve it to my family,” Barron said.
The pork dumplings, the most popular of the two dumpling choices according to Barron (there’s also beef), are green, thanks to the spinach juice squeezed into the dough. Both varieties of dumplings are pan-fried until crisp and served with a spicy dipping sauce made with jalapeno, cilantro, soy sauce and sesame oil.
Between the dumplings and the wontons, which are never frozen and cooked to order daily, there’s no such thing as idle hands for the restaurant’s chefs, even between the dinner and lunch rush.
Bowl of goodness
The seafood noodle bowl is rife with crispy vegetables and a variety of fish and shellfish, including mussels, shrimp, salmon and tilapia. The pork wontons in the wonton noodle soup bowl are hand-folded daily and the perfect consistency, as are the vegetables, which still have a bit of a crunch. The clear soup broth, homemade each night, is subtle and doesn’t overpower the other components of the dish.
The most recent addition to the menu, which Barron added based on customer feedback, includes three varieties of curry bowls. There’s red curry with seafood (a combination of shrimp, salmon, tilapia and mussels), yellow curry with vegetables (zucchini, sweet potato, bell peppers and bamboo shoots) and green curry with chicken and vegetables.
At lunch, the curry or noodle bowls come with a drink and a dumpling, spring roll or beef wrap and start at $9.95 for the combo.