Xi'an Famous Foods
328 East 78th Street
Best Asian Noodles in New York CityMy vote for the best bowl of Asian noodles in New York City goes to Xi'an Famous Foods, which also won over Anthony Bourdain, food critics, and countless locals. The family-run business celebrates signature spicy dishes from its hometown in western China. Most of the locations are small—you will likely wait—however, once you dig in to your bowl of spicy broth, stewed pork (or lamb, or oxtail) that falls apart on your fork because it's so tender and hand-ripped noodles, you will understand. Do yourself a favor, skip the available cans of soda and instead opt for their homemade cold jasmine tea (sweetened or unsweetened). It perfectly cuts the heat. There are more than 10 locations, including the original in Queens. They do a brisk business at lunchtime; visit for a late lunch or early dinner to improve your chances of getting a seat.
almost 5 years ago
Chinese Regional Cuisine
I wanted to love this place. I had read other bloggers' raves and seen line-ups fill the tiny dining room here over the course of my one-week stay in the East Village, so I figured it had to be a gem, a real neighbourhood favorite. Also, it was one of many regionally specific restaurants I tried in the East Village (like Zabb Elee), which also had me excited. While Zabb Elee was Isan Thai, Xi'an was Western Chinese. Maybe we should have ordered the pork. Fact is, we both ordered lamb noodle soups (I got the sweet and sour lamb dumpling soup while my lunch date had the spicy lamb cumin soup), and we both found them disagreeable for different reasons. Although the ingredients seemed fresh and everything else about this place seemed promising, the spicy lamb soup was so spicy (despite having asked for it mild) as to block all sensations but (painfully) hot. My dumplings were tasty at first, but by the second bite tasted too heavy to eat enjoyably, despite the fresh kick of the coriander leaves. I would definitely go back. Something about the line-ups and write-ups, and even a completely irrational hunch, tell me it deserves a second chance. I just might get pork instead of lamb next time.