Bar None

Chubby Noodle's peerless pop-up

We like surprises, especially when they involve fried chicken.

Amante, an unprepossessing North Beach bar, isn't the first place you'd expect to get some of the finest food we've had in a while. But there you'll find it, courtesy of Chubby Noodle, a pop-up from the team behind Don Pisto's.

The chicken is served in 5-piece cardboard popcorn buckets, and you can choose from strips ($9), wings ($9) or drumsticks and thighs ($12). It's spicy and juicy, hot from the fryer and accompanied by a sweet-salty-hot sambal aioli.

It seems wrong to order tuna poke at a bar, but the Noodle's version ($11), which showcases pristine cubes of tuna perfectly dressed with soy, sesame and more sambal, is as good as any we've had, ever, anywhere.

Garlic noodles ($8) are chubby worms slicked with an oyster sauce and butter emulsion and shot through with slices of jalapeƱo and fresno chilies; the pork ramen ($9) is a rich housemade pork broth containing pork carnitas and a poached egg that oozes at the slightest provocation.

Amante doesn't serve fancy cocktails, but that's just fine. Chubby Noodle's grub is bar food in one sure way: It goes great with beer.

Chubby Noodle (inside Amante), Tue. through Sat., 6 to 11 p.m., 570 Green St.; 415-361-8850 or thechubbynoodle.com