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Where? Boom Noodle, 1121 E. Pike St., 701-9130

What does $13 get you? Boom salmon tataki ($5.95), pork gyoza ($4) and miso broiled rice cakes

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$13: Boom Noodle

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Where? Boom Noodle, 1121 E. Pike St., 701-9130

What does $13 get you? Boom salmon tataki ($5.95), pork gyoza ($4) and miso broiled rice cakes ($3) during happy hour. An extra $7.50 will buy you a sweet-ass cocktail.

Recommended? Does "my boom" mean "my current obsession?" (That's a "yes").

Official tasting notes: As the clever name suggests, Boom Noodle is known for their noodles. But I prefer their small plates, which there are more than a dozen of.

Last week, I diverged from my usual happy hour favorites -- the chilled sesame tofu with shitake mushrooms and boom edamame pure with sweet potato crisps -- and let my friend order. First up: boom salmon tataki with ponzu and shoestring veggies. The sea salt gave it a nice crunch.

We also split the pork gyoza. I know it doesn't look like much, but the dumplings are perfectly pan crisped and served with boom garlic sauce. I could have easily eaten the entire plate.

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We also ordered the miso broiled rice cakes with 10 grain rice and caramelized miso sesame veggie slaw and creamy tofu sauce ($3).

If we would have stopped there, our bill would have totalled less than $13. But come on! A third of Boom Noodle is a bar, which serves some of the best cocktails around. Here's my friend, 35th Street Bistro chef, Tom Black sucking down a yuzu cooler ($7.50) made with absolut pear, triple sec and house made lemonade (I drank mine faster. I win!):

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The energy of a packed Boom Noodle, with its communal tables and industrial-chic design, is palpable. It's hard not to like this place, even if you don't dig noodles.

 
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