Getting Addicted to the Infernal Curry Chicken at Jenni's Noodle House

Categories: Fast Times

infernal curry.jpg
Monday nights are generally the most challenging at my house when it comes to dinner. We love to kick off our week with a meal prepared by someone else, but restaurants love to close on Mondays. Last week was an absolute nightmare of circumstances -- deadlines, illnesses, thrown-out backs, presentations and the impending arrival of out-of-town guests. My husband was sick, which generally dictates Asian food in some form or fashion ("Salt-plus-fat-plus-noodles-equals-wellness," he explained), and his choice was Jenni's Noodle House. I was all in, and we headed over to the South Shepherd-at-Alabama location.

The idea was to order an outrageous amount of food, eat as much as we could and as quickly as we could, then get home before his double dose of Nyquil kicked in. We also wanted an obnoxious amount of leftovers so he could have a few days' worth of lunches to take to work. From the look on the guy's face who took our order, we succeeded on the "obnoxious amount of food" front -- our order came to almost $50 for just the two of us.

pho_curry.jpg
Photos by Christina Uticone
Pho & Infernal Curry
On the menu that night: Chicken Disco Dumplings ($6), Tofu Style Vermicelli Salad ($7), Pho (to-go, $8), Infernal Curry Chicken (my entrée, $10) and Super Duper Fried Rice (his entrée, $11). We each gave the pho a quick taste, but we brought it home to pack for lunches throughout the week. We shared the dumplings and vermicelli salad, but played selfish with our own entrées. The dumplings came out within minutes, and the rest just five minutes after that, so have no doubt that Jenni's Noodle House qualifies for "fast times" food.

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Dumplings
I was already pretty obsessed with the dumplings at Jenni's. They are big and hearty, and come in this incredibly flavorful sweet-and-sour-and-hot broth that I find really addictive. Josh opted for the fried dumplings, but I have to say that in general I prefer steamed. When it comes to Jenni's dumplings you really can't lose, though, and I was happy enough to steal a third dumpling for myself while Josh concentrated on the vermicelli salad.

I liked the salad well enough, especially the pickled onions, but once I got a bite of the Infernal Curry Chicken, I was in heaven. The menu warns "addicts beware," and it's a fair warning. I couldn't stop eating spoonful after spoonful of the flavorful curry broth that includes a heavy dose of lime leaf; it's that bright lime flavor that makes this dish so completely addictive. The broth itself is quite light, which is great because you can crush bite after bite after bite of the chicken, potatoes and rice, and still have room for a few (dozen) sips of broth at the end. After eating so much food before the curry, I didn't think I would eat the whole dish...but I did. The coconut milk created a slippery texture that coated the chicken, and the fragrant jasmine rice pulled all of the flavors together. I'm really not sure I'll ever be able to order another dish at Jenni's again -- the Infernal Curry is that good.



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Location Info

Jenni's Noodle House

3111 S. Shepherd, Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

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18 comments
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Corey
Corey

Here is the problem... Mass production of curry, where at home you have all the time in the world to reduce it to create a sauce all too often this is what happens. Pre cut chicken vegetables thrown into a wok, usually sans any aromatics (ginger/garlic/galangal), then when that's cooked  the pre-made curry is thrown in, followed by a ton coconut milk or broth, when that comes to temp it goes from the wok to your bowl. They don't take the time or make the effort to let it reduce, Kun Khay Thai is notorious for this too. They just have to make it fast, and thus the quality suffers, though I've never had worse curry than Nidda, ugh the worst I've ever had bar none and I'm sure I'll catch flak for that too. If your curry is thin, watery, flavorless/bland well now you know why, they are rushing it out to you and sacrificing quality in the process. You're better off at home with some taste of thai curry from a jar, some chok-oah coconut milk, some fresh aromatics, vegetables, and your protein of choice it's really quite easy to make and very forgiving, and when properly reduced is a sauce not a soupy wreck. Just my 2 cents..

Wuwu
Wuwu

Corey, nice post, no worries on Nida and I'm glad you explained the process...when I make at home at times I had noticed thin for sure, guess I will let it reduce down even longer to insure that taste you mentioned...where are your top places?  Nida works for me and so does Thai Gourmet on Richmond near Hillcroft, other than those two places I just have found all others not worth going back to.  The dude who runs Cafe TH knows what he is doing, give it a try if  you have not...peace out and chow and ciao....

Gomer
Gomer

 Spelled Nidda, btw. And why are you Thai and Viet places?

Gremillion
Gremillion

 I like the buckwheat noodles with shrimp. I like Scott. I like Jenni.

Hugh Ramsey
Hugh Ramsey

if you like to punish yourself, ask for anything on the menu "level 2" spicy.

Its really ridiculous.

Corey
Corey

Their food is so boring and tasteless, and the service at the post oak location is abysmal. Sorry I've given them countless chances to win me over and every time I've left saying meh, I can make far better at home...

Wuwu
Wuwu

Corey hit it on the head but I will be a tad more cruel on Jenni's...saying this place is even remotely good is an abortion gone bad, not to offend anyone with that but this food is horrible, awful bad...!  I'm starting to question the folks who are doing pieces on this site who really have no concept of what the difference between bad and good is.  In a great city like we have no reason to settle for second or third or fourth best, too many stellar choices and our ethnic food here rivals all large city.  

Corey
Corey

 Just look at the picture for reference, that's NOT curry that's SOUP.. Should coat the back of the spoon not be a runny mess of bland broth.  Sorry to be negative, but my money is better spent elsewhere. Jenni is ace, the food however is just not on par with her personality/cuteness.

Christina Uticone
Christina Uticone

Not arguing with your opinion of Jenni's overall. There are plenty of restaurants people rave about that I've not had good experiences with. I've only had Jenni's a few times, and the dumplings have always been really good. I liked this curry a lot, even though I was surprised it came out in a thin broth rather than as a thick sauce. Still delish, IMO.

Christina Uticone
Christina Uticone

I agree it's a surprising texture, but the flavor was excellent. I couldn't really care less about the consistency. I've had pasta sauces ranging from thick to very thin, but generally if they taste good I'm pretty happy.

Also, I've had tons of curry soups. So this isn't in the "soup" section of the menu--curry soup is still yummy.

Everestbabystep
Everestbabystep

Wuwu, you always seem so negative. So dark and frowning, Have a drink maybe and recommend to us what we should know. Let us in on your happiness, if there is any.

SirRon
SirRon

I'm just messing, but you see what I'm getting at? I don't know why I would have to feel bad about eating at (and *gasp* -- liking) Jenni's.

I don't know if there will be flames, but has anyone here had the curry at Morningside Thai? The dish is similar to Jenni's (soup-ish). I like it a little better. While Morningside Thai is the polar opposite of Jenni's in a lot of ways, they have similar fresh, simple food and have friendly owners.

Corey
Corey

 Haha, harsh..

SirRon
SirRon

Four suggestions!!1?!1 I've had boogers under my fingernails that I enjoyed more than reading that nonsense. Three of those places are literally the worst evar!... {\}

Wuwu
Wuwu

Ok, I am by far the deepest negative person who post around...why?  because there is so much bad product out now that folks claim is good.  Jenni's is the Jack in the Box of Viet-Thai- whatever you want to call their food, correct, i said that..you want better, go to Cafe TH on Pease St....go to Pho One, better than Jenni's hands down...want a third choice, go to Nida on Westheimer and all I mentioned blow the doors of Jenni's....go to Van Loc, folks get a grip on what is good vs what is terrible....

SirRon
SirRon

Wuwu let us know early on that his comment was going to be absurd, but by the end its pretty clear this dude doesn't even like food. "No reason to settle for second or third or fourth best"? Seriously? The food is so good in Houston we argue on here about the five or ten best places for every cuisine. We can't even all agree on the top three food blocks in the city. On the other hand, I bet this dude is a self proclaimed superstar on Yelp.

Mag
Mag

This is one of those places on my list that I still have not made it to.  I just love soup and that soup looks awesome!

Christina Uticone
Christina Uticone

The pho was good but I didn't get much of it. The vermicelli salad was average, but I love the dumplings & the Infernal Curry is amazing. Bummer Corey has had bad experiences, but mine have ranged from above-average to great.

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