I had gone looking for the mall that was posted about a month or so ago on the Flushing board, where the stalls were mostly Szechuan and there is little to no English to be found. I'm guessing that the mall I wandered into today, not far from the corner of 41st Road and diagonally across from the library, what with its' emphasis on dumplings (one stall has English on its' menu) and noodles, is not the one.
I had a heaping tub of noodles in broth, instead, the best I've had in ages. Near the back of this narrow mall, where it seems like everywhere you look you're surrounded by big glass windows reminiscent of a claustrophobic chase scene involving a Snake Lady in "Blade Runner", across a narrow walkway from a tiny hair salon where you can see in, is a small joint, about 6 or 7 randomly placed tables with stools on a green and white checkered floor, with all the charm of an unemployment office waiting area. About four workers behind a colorless counter.
Me being the only caucasian in the room, all eyes eventually made their way to me. The friendly proprietor, a man hand rolling a big flat noodle, offered up the house specialty - noodle with lamb. "Real Chinese noodle", he said. I ponied up the ante - all of 4 bucks for the large size - took a seat, and caught any number of amused smiles coming my way from the other patrons. About ten minutes later, another friendly employee brought me the white plastic bucket of joy - reminiscent of but ultimately superior to the hand pulled thinner variety served up at Super Taste on Eldridge Street. This big flat noodle, plentiful and coiled like some once proud sea snake, with it's thick hills and deep valleys, surrounded on all sides by tinier , thinner noodles and other strandlike objects and greens of varying chewy textures, caught the flavor of the subtle broth (sufficiently kicked up with just a dab of the hot condiment of the house) like a second spoon. Like all fresh noodles, it retained its' texture for the duration, never getting soggy. A great noodle experience, to be sure. What kicked this into the stratosphere, however, and makes it my choice for the best 5-buck-and-under-meal I've had all year, is the slide-off-the-bone-smooth chunks of fattty lamb, which reminded me more, in its' overall feel, of the effect a great piece of chashu has on a bowl of real Japanese Ramen. It had that kind of warm, buttery effect. Pure chunks of flavor amidst texture and subtlety.
What I'm getting at here is that I liked the noodles.
Can't wait to go back. Some of the other stalls looked equally tempting as well. For lack of an even rudimentary grasp of Chinese, and until someone tells me what this joint is really called, I'll just call it 4128 Flat Lamb Noodle. Again, it's at the back of the mall. Just look for the sign above the door, in Chinese, of a man in a chef's hat, a blue arrow pointing inside. I've been pointed in far worse directions.
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