Corner 17

The Delmar Loop is a pretty daunting place to open up a restaurant. This stretch of road has plenty of dining options to choose from, many of them top-notch. So when Corner 17 opened its doors late last summer, we immediately gave them points for gumption, though we had our doubts about how the new place would go over. After trying the food, turns out we needn't have worried at all.

The space is fairly spartan, with rustic wood chairs and tables, and a dearth of decor. The big attraction inside the restaurant is the window next to the counter, through which patrons can watch the restaurant's noodles being made by hand.

Corner 17 is a relatively small place; but the menu is expansive, full of noodle dishes in soups and sauce (eight variations of that old standby), fried rice, and a dozen or so versions of milk tea, which is what we started out with. Our flavor of choice was the Mango Milk Tea ($4). This rich beverage, though extremely sweet, had a fair balance of flavors between the tea and the mango. There are a handful of dessert options on the Corner 17 menu, but the this beverage could fit the bill quite nicely.

Simple is almost always better, especially when it comes to cuisine. Case in point--Corner 17's Tea Egg ($1). Like the name says, it's just a hard-boiled egg steeped in tea, but the flavor imparted is subtle and smoky, and the tie-dye effect the tea has on the egg white is visually stunning.

Of course, after watching the noodles being crafted in front of us, we had to give them a try. From the Noodles with Sauce list, we ordered the Pork Pan-Stirred Noodles ($9). The dish had strips of pork, cabbage and carrot, and a sauce that was equal parts earthy and sweet. These elements certainly were mighty tasty, but the star of the show was most definitely the noodles. Texture-wise, they were smooth and tender, but with just a bit of resistance when we sank our teeth in. It's impossible to overestimate the impact these fresh noodles have on this dish.

The Kimchee Fried Rice ($8) had the requisite pieces of egg and beef mixed in with the rice, pretty standard stuff for this dish. But the kimchee took it out of the realm of run of the mill. The thick chunks of fermented cabbage had heat and tang to spare, which was knocked back nicely with sips of the creamy mango tea. We're not sure if the kimchee was made in-house, but it tasted like the best homemade versions we've had.

Service was quick and friendly. Corner 17 is open seven days a week; and the menu is the same all day, so diners can enjoy their favorites, no matter what time they drop in. Unfortunately, the restaurant has no website and its Facebook page has a dearth of info about the operation and the menu, but hopefully that'll change soon. Food this good needs to be promoted!

--6631 Delmar Blvd., 727-2402.

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