On a recent trip to Boulder I popped into Wok Eat, the Asian-inspired fast-casual joint that opened in December at Ninth and Pearl streets. The space resembles so many of the spruced up quick-serve concepts we’ve recently seen a wave of: clean, modern, metallic lines; graphically inviting menu boards; fast food rooted in a commitment to locally sourced ingredients; and admirable philanthropic programs touted on the tables.

At this new eatery, diners can pick from a menu of pre-crafted noodle or rice entrées or they can select from a list of ingredients to build their own box. House combinations include the Noboyuki, a collection of beef, udon noodles, broccoli, edamame, and teriyaki sauce; the Mountain Climber, a Bhutanese inspired mix of chicken, egg, mushroom, green curry sauce, and red jasmine rice; and the Thai One On, a tangle of pork, peanut sauce, bamboo shoots, and rice noodles. The appropriately-concise beverage menu is thoughtful, with homegrown suds from Boulder Beer.

Discerning diners, however, will notice that tempura-fried chicken is soggy instead of crispy. Ravenous outdoorsmen will find the portions small. Heat lovers will think the three-chile Fire Dragon (pictured) comes in far too low on the Scoville scale.

But this definitively critical foodie will be back anyway. In a part of town that is long on sit-down stunners (Frasca Food and Wine, Oak at Fourteenth, the Kitchen, Black Cat, and others) Wok Eat fills an important void: An on-the-run, kid-friendly place to grab a fast, casual bite.

946 Pearl St., Boulder, 303-444-4085

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