Sometimes, you just want a casual quick food with strong flavor, instead of formal restaurant dining. We have been wanting to visit The Handpulled Noodle for a while, so we decided to give them a try. A quick food doesn’t have to be a low quality, unhealthy food. One of the many reasons I love NYC is that there are massive options for food. This eatery calls their food offering as Northern Chinese Soul Food. Interesting…
We walked in to a strong aroma of spices, and even though they didn’t have many customer in the inside, the kitchen was in full steam. It seems like they have lots of delivery orders. The first thing we saw was an ordering counter, and kitchen behind it. A female staff quickly came up to the front and took our order.
The wall to the right when we enter was covered with old newspapers, and the wall to the left was exposed red brick wall. The old, rustic interior is modernized with a pretty cool design on the brick wall. That was about the only “art” on the wall, or in the entire restaurant. The furniture was kept simple, with wooden counter tables and red metal chairs.
The counter table goes all the way around from the back wall to the front, then across the front wall in front of the window, and goes back halfway towards the back along the entrance. The large windows bring in lots of natural light, so it is nice and bright in the inside. They had some additional light fixtures throughout to ensure the light reaches each seat.
This is a self-service spot, no waiter service. Everything you might need is placed neatly near the ordering counter. They have plastic utensils, chopsticks, napkin and complimentary water.
The way you order the noodle dish is to first pick the noodle style, then the preparation style, and finally, choose the level of spiciness. I went with Ribbon Noodles, Spicy Cumin Lamb, and Low spicy ($11). The Spicy Cumin Lamb is their most popular dish, and it is topped with Julienned cucumbers. If you are vegetarian, this dish can be made with seitan also.
It was a pretty good portion, lots of Ribbon Noodles which are flat and wide noodles. Since they are handpulled, the noodles are imperfect by design. The thickness of the noodles also vary, which provides slightly different texture with each bite. They had chunks of lamb meat which was tender and packed with flavor. The spice level was great for me. Not too spicy but had a little kick to it. I could’ve go one level up, maybe… They had chilli sauce that you could add on top of your dishes on the counter. So added a little of that on my noodle dish, and that was perfect.
My hubby ordered the same thing, but with different style of noodle. He chose Ding Ding Noodles, which is chopped noodles. The price is the same, at $11. You can see more lamb in the photos here. The cucumbers and greens calmed the spicy flavor a bit, providing cooling and refreshing flavor.
The Ding Ding noodles are their house favorite, and it can be described as mini Chinese gnocchi. And yes, they look exactly that. They were very plum and had great firm texture. Again, the noodles have variation when it comes to thickness and uniformity. The flavor was great, we enjoyed both types of noodles, but I think I liked the flat noodles better. I think it comes down to your preference, really. They were both amazing, flavorful and very satisfying.
In addition to our noodles, we also ordered Mama’s Jumbo Dumplings to share. We chose Pork & Chive ($7). They took a long time to come out, we were almost done with our noodles about the time dumplings came out. The female staff brought it to our seat with apology. It comes with six dumplings and dipping sauce.
They were nice size, but I wouldn’t call it “jumbo”… The wrapper was plump and chewy, a bit thick but not in a bad way. A bit doughy, but I didn’t mind that either. I usually prefer thin wrapper, but I liked their dumplings. The filling was very juicy and flavorful. Not greasy in any way, but still moist and juicy. They were certainly tasty and filling.
It ended up being not-so-quick food, but we were not in any rush, so that was ok. The food was really good, much better than I expected. I thought the quality was high, and the flavoring with their spices was great. The price point is not “fast-food” price, but you do get delicious, quality food here that are made from scratch. So I think it is still worth every penny. I would like to go back to try some of their other dishes in the near future!
The Handpulled Noodle – 3600 Broadway, New York, NY 10031