Ramen has and always will be soul food. The rich broth inevitably warms eaters on the coldest days, almost instantly cures even the most trying of hangovers and without fail feels like the warm embrace from an old friend. When done right, ramen is emotional.
That chef and owner Chris Teigland decided to dedicate his new restaurant Glo Noodle House — tucked away just off 38th and Tennyson — to his late mother Gloria, makes all the sense in the world. He and his wife Ariana Teigland run the place, serving a menu of appetizers, skewers, a small but ample raw bar and, of course, noodles. This is food that tastes like dedication, the kind of earnest cuisine that more than definitely would make his mom proud.
Chris and Ariana met while working at Blackbelly. That both worked under Hosea Rosenberg is evident, as each dish and sophisticated cocktail manages to be equal parts comforting and exhilarating. That many of the proteins are sourced from Lombardi Brothers Meats also hints that the apple did not fall too far from the tree. While Chris runs the kitchen, Ariana is in charge of service and the truly splendid bar program. Ariana also did a chunk of the interior design. Visits to both bathrooms are a must.
While noodles are the main attraction, the small plate list is so chock full of goodies that it’s easy to get full before the main event. The chicken karaage ($10) is unusually succulent, with a yuzu aioli only magnifying the dish’s zest. There’s foie gras ($16) with yuzu marmalade, though it’s the bok choy ($12) that manages to sneakily steal the show. Served with black sesame, Marcona almond, anchovy vinaigrette and pickled apricots, the bok choy eats like a funky caesar, with each topping broadening the veggie’s natural lushness. The filet skewer ($9) goes great with sake.
Unsurprisingly, the ramen is where we see Chris flex the most creatively. There’s a kimchi bolognese mazemen ($15) covered in ground pork, ground beef, gochujang “red” sauce, onsen egg, pecorino, green onion and bean sprouts. There’s also a lemon chicken shiso ($16) that centers around a crispy lemon glazed chicken that maintains its crispness no matter how much it interacts with the broth. The miso bacon ($16) — with pork broth, confit bacon, onsen egg, narutomaki, green onion, sprouts, black garlic oil and crispy shallot — might be most pleasing to traditionalists and is best enjoyed with a dollop or two of the house-made chili jam. On hot days, everything is best washed down with a typhoon club ($14) that blends tequila, coconut, Zoranj orange liqueur, lime and tonic for a perfect tiki porch pounder.
Glo is an important opening. Plenty of places have heart, and plenty of others rely solely on technique. That Chris and Ariana have managed to combine the two so gracefully makes for truly a beautiful ode.
Glo Noodle House is located at 4450 West 38th Ave. #130, Denver. It is open Monday – Thursday from 4 – 9 p.m., and Friday and Saturday from 4 – 10 p.m.
All photography courtesy of Monica Lloyd.