The Boston Phoenix


Best way to get a good meal and a new term of endearment for your snookums

Love Noodle is a North Shore favorite for its superb food and whimsical décor. Black tin ceilings, groovy lighting, and huge erotic paintings add up to an ambiance that's fabulously romantic. And the menu gets you all tingly just reading it. The appetizers ("The Lovin' Starts Here") include a terrific tapas platter with hummus, grilled veggies, dressed greens, and tangy beet salad. Other starters include yummy salmon cakes, the "dumpling du jour" (aww . . . ), and Prince Edward Island mussels with fresh fennel in wine sauce.

The entrées include delectable items such as hoisin-barbecue-glazed pork loin over Asian veggies; sesame-encrusted ahi tuna with crispy rice noodles and pickled ginger; and, for vegetarians, penne pasta in gorgonzola cream sauce with sun-dried tomatoes, spinach, asparagus, and mushrooms. There is an impressive beer list (with Rolling Rock listed as a last resort, "if you must"), and the bartender specializes in martinis with cute, sexy names like "Shag My Noodle" and "Passion Noodle."

And don't forget dessert: "Death by Chocolate" is a mound of dark, meltingly smooth ganache with raspberry sauce and whipped cream, dusted with cocoa. Grab your snookums and go (reservations encouraged).

Love Noodle, 75 Congress Street, Salem, (978) 745-8558.

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