All noodle, tastefully done

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From the end of 2006 to the end of 2008, Madison witnessed a flourishing of small-scale, family-run Mexican restaurants. Anecdotally, I can think of Antojitos El Toril, La Concha, Taqueria Guadalajara (originally T. Morelos), Juanita's Tacos (now closed), Taqueria Guanajuato…plus the handful that have opened more recently, like Mexican Lindo and Pan and Pan. If you like a good double-corn-tortilla taco with nary a tomato chunk or lettuce leaf in sight, you're a happy eater here in Madison.
 
But there's no question that the market is reaching saturation; at the very least, the wave has crested. As with all waves, however, there's another one right behind it. Noodles!
 
No, not Noodles & Company, the inoffensive global-noodle-cuisine franchise that has itself proliferated throughout the Madison metro area. I mean actual noodle shops of various Asian stripes. It all started, arguably, with Ha Long Bay Bistro on Williamson, which opened at the end of May 2009 and serves killer pho. Thai Noodles arrived in January of this year, followed by Pho Nam, Tai's Asian Bistro & Noodle House, and Lee Asian Bistro. Tagura in Middleton could be included in this, and Umami Dumpling and Ramen Bar is set to join the fray later this year (though judging by the rate of remodel at their location, it might be next year).
 
So now the pho fan as well as the taco seeker can find ample solace in Madison's rich dining landscape. I'm both pro-noodle and pro-taco, so my hopes are more esoteric. These two cuisines/food genres frequently appear as food cart fare, and often late-night food cart fare at that. I'm hoping that as these businesses open and succeed, they'll turn their sights onto an after-hours cart scene. That'd really take the taco.

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