Noodle cafe Steam opens in Great Barrington

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GREAT BARRINGTON — A small, long-vacant spot downtown is getting steamy.

Steam, a noodle cafe that will specialize in steamed noodles in broth and other Asian classics, opened July 1 at Barrington Place and Atrium Shops.

The 10-seat restaurant will largely be geared for takeout orders, said Robbin Ezinga, who spoke for his wife, Phornphimon Ezinga, better known as "Jem," who is from Thailand.

"This is definitely all her," Ezinga said when asked if this was a cooking collaboration. "She's an experienced chef, and this is her independent venture. But she often wants me to do the talking."

The menu might have us all, in no time, wearing Mandarin collars and toting in our thermoses for noodles a la the opening scene in the Hong Kong film, "In the Mood For Love." Will we find love at the noodle takeout? Slurp away our heartbreak? One can only hope. But the extensive ramen menu is promising, with varieties like miso, dashi broth, Kimchi soup, chicken curry, and also rice noodle and rice dumpling soups.

Sides and appetizers include a "Summer Roll" rice wrap with vegetables, steamed buns and the Thai street food classic Kaow Grieap Bak Mua, which are quick-steamed rice dumplings.

Ezinga said spicy Thai noodle soups are great in the summer, too, despite the heat.

"It's served in a tropical county and for some reason it really works," he said.

Jem Ezinga's experience includes working with a caterer in Columbia County, where the pair lived until they moved to Housatonic three years ago. She also worked at Chocolate Springs Cafe and Canyon Ranch in Lenox, and the Berkshire Co-op Market's kitchen.

Ezinga said the shop's small size seemed the perfect way to start out.

"And it was available," he added.

Steam's hours will run from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Steam is a long-held dream for Jem Ezinga.

"Jem has always been passionate about food, and she has always wanted to open a restaurant," Robbin Ezinga said.

Heather Bellow can be reached at hbellow@berkshireeagle.com or on Twitter @BE_hbellow and 413-329-6871.



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