1009 Arch Street
This place was started by a former Penang chef and I like the vibe a lot more than I like Penangs. Probably because it only just opened and its not as rushed, and the servers are genuinely, really nice to you, which, admittedly, can fade with popularity. Its in the old Serendipity space, completely different owners.
I had a bowl of the Prawn Mee, described in the menu as egg noodles, shredded pork, shrimp, vegetables, bean sprouts in a spicy shrimp broth. I dont think I ever tried this at Penang so I cant compare directly but it was very well down. The broth had an unusually dark and strong flavor for a seafood broth, a pronounced dried shrimp taste (with minimal amounts of actual dried shrimp, mind you) and some flavors dark enough to be almost coffee-like, very rich and satisfying. The spice isnt weak either, strong yet without sacrificing complexity. At the servers suggestion I got a mix of noodles instead of sticking with either the vermicelli or the egg, and the textural variance made for a good mouth feel.
The space itself is really nice. Good enough to bring the less adventuresome for a meal. I think Id approach this place initially the same way Id approach Penang, theyve got Thai dishes and sushi on the menu (even a little sushi bar) but at first Im going to stick with the Malaysian specialties. I think rendang dishes and curries are sort of the litmus test for Malaysian places so Ill probably try those next.
One criticism Id make would maybe just be small, I think maybe they need to source their shrimp better, it wasnt bad, I just think they can find better at their same price level (based on other places in Chinatown).
I recommend this place; I think itll be a hit. It sort of fills a niche of sorts.