After HLing's posts about Northern Pasta House (40th Rd near Main St) and the Xi'An counter at the Flushing Food Court (upstairs back left counter), I knew I had to get there sooner than later.
My first stop was at Northern Pasta House, where I got a big bowl of lamb soup ($3.50) and boiled dumplings ($1.50 for 8). Getting my order across was a slightly more difficult than I imagined, but I got what I wanted. The lamb soup was clearer than I thought it would be. It came out piping hot, and with a lot of chili after I said "yes" when they asked if I wanted hot sauce. The soup's flavor came from lamb and tripe, with some aromatics like cilantro floating on the top. The tripe worked to flavor the broth, but it seemed that it was cooked at too high a temperature that it rendered it hard and chewy, like gristle. I spooned around them and went for the pieces of lamb. The heat of the chili was a bit daunting for me, however. I seem to be losing my tolerance for heat, especially in hot broths, as I get older. The dumplings worked as a good counterpoint to the heat of the soup. Good ratio of pork and leek, it really hit the spot.
Having only eaten half the fiery soup at Northern Pasta, I went to the flushing food court, straight to the Xi'An counter for the #1 ($4.95) on the untranslated board. This dish was awesome. Like HLing describes in the post below, it contains hand-stretched noodles, some strands of kelp and reconstituted tofu sheet noodles in a rich, flavorful broth topped with (in my case) tender braised beef, and topped with a handful of cilantro, and a dollop of their hot oil/sauce. The broth is a lamb broth (I asked the enlish-speaking fellow at the counter and he seemed to confirm it, but I'm not quite sure if he was just nodding to be agreeable), but dark and rich unlike the light color of the broth at Northern Pasta House. Some might find the dish greasy, but the oily goodness from the braised beef matched perfectly with the broth and noodles. The hot oil/sauce was also very flavorful without packing a lot of heat -- just right for me. The hand-stretched noodles were long, thick and had a great chewy texture. The fellow at the counter recommended (as HLing does) to get the lamb next time. It's only a matter of time...
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