Slurped: The Penang-Style Fried Cubes at Sanur

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Penang-style fried cubes. [Photographs: Max Falkowitz]

We all agreed that the restaurant being in a basement was not off-putting. This could not be said of the steep and grimy stairs which lead to 18B Doyers, the restaurant portion of Sanur. (Upstairs is their take-out portion where you can get an "economical breakfast" for two dollars or under.)

Still, I would happily take those stairs again for another serving of the ineptly named "fried-cubes," certainly the most cubically shaped noodles I have ever eaten.

Disclaimer: I have never eaten any other dish of fried cubes, so I have nothing to which to compare these "Penang-style fried cubes" ($5.95). But I really enjoyed the rectangular sticks, charred and well browned, yet pudding-like inside. Imagine what would happen if you took turnip cake and tried to make it behave like a noodle. You would get, I daresay, these fried cubes. They were cooked with stir-fried egg and bean sprouts and best of all, diced pickled turnip, a sadly underused savory thing.

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Singapore mee fun.

Most noodle dishes at Sanur are six dollars or less. I like this. I liked their Singapore mee fun ($5.95), stir-fried with bouncy/snappy shrimp and tender pork. They didn't come cooked with the yellow curry powder typical of these noodles, and replace curry heat with sweeter caramelized flavors.

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Hokkien noodle with brown sauce.

Less successful were the two other noodles dishes on the table, both of which I would describe as brown and savory. Hokkien Noodle with Brown Sauce ($5.95) came with tender-crisp bok choy and lo-mein noodles in a light gravy sauce. Malaysian rice noodles ($5.95) were nicely charred but a tad too sweet for me.

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Malaysian rice noodles.

Besides, why settle for those when you could eat fried cubes?

I can't say I know Sanur all that well, but I have a hunch that this is the sort of place you could go and sit for a long while. That is, if you don't mind the music. (On our visit, a non-stop Madonna marathon. I could not, as it were, get into the groove, though Max and Robyn were considerably more appreciative.)

I could, however, get into our bill at end:

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Sanur

18 Doyers Street, New York, NY 10013 (map) 212-267-0088