Fideo by Mick is the latest endeavor by the creator of what is considered Orange County’s best, most creative burger bar, the well known Mick’s Karma Bar. Conveniently, Fideo is located next to the Karma Bar, so those who are not quite as adventurous eaters can grab a delicious burger and dine at the same tables outside with their friends who have partaken of Mick’s interesting take on some noodle dishes. Even though the noodle bar has been open a scant few weeks, Mick’s idea of doing a limited number of dishes but doing them well makes for a restaurant that is a success right from the start.
Fideo specializes in noodle dishes and does them amazingly well. Mick has four varieties of noodle bowls on the menu now with an eye to adding two more dishes soon. The bowls are Mick’s own creations, combining flat ramen noodles that he receives fresh every day with his different sauce creations. Mick is a big proponent of slow-stewing, a great way through history of coaxing the maximum amount of flavors from the meats and sauces that he uses. The noodles themselves are on of the keys to Mick’s bowls. He gets them delivered fresh daily from one of the major suppliers of ramen noodles to many of the top ramen restaurants in the county. The noodles are cooked in the same manner as you would find in a top quality ramen-ya, to a perfect al dente. These noodles are great for the curries Fideo sells, literally sucking in the richly flavored curry sauces into the noodles so every bite has a nice blend of texture and flavor.
The sauces themselves are Asian inspired, with curry variations being the seasoning of choice which Mick modifies to each dish. The curry base itself is made fresh at Fideo, with fresh lemongrass as well as galangal (similar, but more pungent than ginger), a root which is very popular in Indonesian and Malaysian cooking. His curry bases share a lot of commonality with Thai and Malaysian curries with a touch of Indian curry too, with the combination being reminiscent of these various cuisines but at the same time uniquely Mick’s creation. One such example is his chili verde sauce, where he combines a zippy Thai-based curry with fire-roasted pasilla chili peppers and tender pork to create a dish that has the look of a green chili verde but a depth of flavor rarely achieved in most chili verde found around town.
For his beef curry, Mick slow-stews his beef to yield a rich broth that is used as part of the base. For the beef, Mick pays homage to one of Thailand’s most popular curries, Massaman style. The mild curry blends well with the tender beef to make a succulent dish that is a great introduction to curries for any one who has not had them before and thinks of curry as an extremely hot dish. One difference however is Mick’s exclusion of the common ingredient used in Massaman Curry, the potato. It is not needed, with the slow-stewing of the meat, the complex sauce thickened also by very slow cooking and with the noodles providing a nice base for the popular curry. Chunks of pickled mustard plant add an nice crunch and a spicy, sour and salty flavor that works amazingly well in the dish.
The chicken curry is a delight, with a spicy sauce that is nicely accented by a topping of fresh bean sprouts, peanuts and cilantro. Like most of Mick’s curries, a touch of fish sauce adds to the depth of the flavor. A nice chicken leg provided some tender and moist meat to go with the light, delicious sauce. Of course, guests can always spice the sauces to taste. For this, Fideo has a jar of chili flakes, a Vietnamese version of the popular Sriracha sauce and a bottle of fish sauce to flavor each bowl the way you want.
For the diner that wants a bowl of goodness, Fideo has an awesome pork belly. Pork belly itself has become a very popular protein, but as simple as it is, the execution of it can be anywhere from lackluster to downright chewy. Fideo’s pork belly is a rich, tasty meat, with the meat stewed until it is almost charcoal colored. The resulting sauce flavors the meat, soaking into the pork as well as the luscious fat that is the sign of a great pork belly. The texture of the meat is superb, with enough caramelization on the edges of the meat to satisfy any fan of pork. This dish could easily qualify as someone’s version of comfort food, with the rich thick sauce and the delightful noodles.
Fideo by Mick features a variety of beers on tap. One of the must get items however are their lemonades. Their strawberry basil lemonade is a popular drink, while the passionfruit mint lemonade was not only delicious but had a nice variety of textures from the fresh mint leaves and the crunchy passionfruit seeds.
Fideo by Mick is located in Irvine close to the John Wayne Airport. Their hours are 11:30am to 2:30 pm, Monday thru Friday.
Fideo by Mick 2010 Main Street, Suite 170 Irvine, CA 92614
Those flat ramen noodles look delicious!