Over the last few years, South Texas has noticed a trend that no Valleyite can escape. Call it climate change, a late winter or whatever you want (let’s not get political), the month of March has become known for its sudden 30-40 degree drop, rain showers and cold winds. Yes, we have no right to complain after seeing images of 5 foot mountains of snow and frozen lakes from our friends up north. After all, we made the conscious decision to live down south and suffer through the triple digit, humid 9-month summers and not have to invest in a parka.
The best thing to come out of this winter vortex is warming up to a nice hot bowl of soup and some conversation amongst friends who you haven’t seen since “last summer”, as in last week. Luckily for us, South Texas offers an array of yummy dishes ready to soothe your soul and warm your (cowboy) boots. We decided to visit Dragon Warrior Noodle located inside the Arts Village on Main Street in McAllen. Apparently, we weren’t the only ones diggin’ on this idea since the self-proclaimed “only ramen shop in the RGV” was busy at 6:30 p.m. and busting at the seams when we left.
As we made our way through the Art Village tunnels, pushing through the gushes of wind, we opened the door to a warm shop with the welcoming smell of broth. Since we were a table of 5, we were seated in a communal table with wooden benches. This worked out perfectly because our party doubled in size as we disrobed our layers of coats, scarves and knitted beanies. Considering our server greeted us with a quick hello and quickly stepped away to another table, we could tell the staff was somewhat overwhelmed with the unexpected influx of people showing up for winter. Quickly switching into strategic planning mode, we then formulated a plan to have our order ready so that we could catch our server, “Mr. Lightning Fast Feet”, next time he showed up.
Gaby: Ok, we’ll take the Dragon Warrior Ramen, the Pluckin OG, 2 piece Japanese Fried Chicken and 1 order of pan fried Gyoza.
Trisha: Please add an order of steamed Gyoza, Fried Dragons drizzled with Warrior Sauce, Edamame with Sea Salt, Pork Belly Bao buns and the Chef Specialty.
Server: Sorry, we’re out of Pluckin OG, Japanese Fried Chicken and the Chef Specialty.
We shook our fists in the air as our plan dwindled away, but it was bound to happen when there was a non-stop rotation of customers coming in through the doors. We readjusted, made some switches and probably ordered more food than what we initially had planned.
Up first, appetizers! Steam and pan fried Gyoza along with Edamame came out piping hot and served in authentic mini bamboo steamers. While delicious, the true appetizer showstopper was the Fried Dragons. G.O.T. fans, don’t get your dragon wings in a ruffle. These are grilled brussel sprouts drizzled with Dragon Warrior Sauce.
Hot bowls of ramen made their way through the labyrinth of visitors and onto our table. Bowls filled with pork belly, chicken, bean sprouts, shiitake mushrooms, egg, flavorful broth and veggies stared us down and cried out, “Slurps up!” Our favorite bowl of the night, and restaurant staple, was the Dragon Warrior Bowl made with chicken broth, chopped pork belly, shiitake ajitama, fried garlic and bacon, green onions, wave noodles and 3 Gyoza served on a skewer! This will warm you right up and satisfy any monster-like hunger you may possess. Remember to try their freshly made steam buns if you're appetite is of a smaller scale.
Dragon Warrior Noodle has great specials for the 9-5 work warrior in you! Mondays are B.Y.O.B. (build your own bowl, add anything you want to your ramen), Taco Tuesday (2 bao buns for $5), Gyoza Wednesday (6 gyozas pan fried or steamed for $5) and Warrior Thursday (bring in your warrior gear, post on social media and receive a 15% discount). For a small cork fee, bring in your favorite adult beverage to enjoy with your Asian cuisine.
SIDE NOTE: Bring in product from their neighbors, Roosevelt’s at 7 from across the street, and don’t get charged. Ca-ching!
Executive Chef Jason Jon and the staff will be happy to take care of you at Dragon Warrior Noodle, located at 800 North Main Street, Suite 420, McAllen, TX 78501. Their hours of operation are Sunday through Monday 12:00 p.m.-9:00 p.m. and Wednesday through Saturday 12:00 p.m.-10:00 p.m. For more information, you can call them at (956)843-0019 or follow them on their social media platforms @dragonwarriornoodle.
Gaby Jones and Trisha Watts work hand-in-hand with the service industry. Jones is in charge of craft and imported beer for L&F Distributors-South Texas and Watts is a freelance writer specializing in the marketing of the service industry. Each week they will have a new adventure and provide an opinion on multiple locations throughout the Rio Grande Valley. They can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.