Opening a noodle joint across the street from the Washington University campus is such a no-brainer that every forward-thinking restaurateur in St. Louis should be ashamed he or she didn't think of it first. Credit industry vet Zoë Robinson and chef Ny Vongsaly, who have worked together at I Fratellini and the late Zoë's Pan-Asian Café, for the slam-dunk Bobo Noodle House, which has been satisfying hungry students (and the rest of us) for the past year. Yet Bobo is no mere "joint." Vongsaly presents simple noodle dishes that burst with sophisticated favors — sometimes in surprising combinations, such as a version of the Vietnamese beef-noodle soup pho with red curry and butternut squash, or seared shrimp with a mango-yogurt sauce for dipping. The décor is sleek, elevating what could have been a functional fast-casual layout to cosmopolitan chic. The whole shebang is so smart that a meal at Bobo should be a prerequisite for anyone planning to enroll in Opening a Restaurant 101.
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