I'm a huge fan of the Shanghai Style Flat Noodles ( 上海粗炒面 ) at Joe's Shanghai in NYC. They are thick, a little wider than they are tall, and full of irregularities that pick up sauce and have a great texture. Finding something equivalent in the Bay Area has met with limited success, so I'd love to know if anyone has other recommendations. The commonalities of ones I've encountered are that there's a fat gauged wheat noodle, cabbage, either green onion or greens but not both, and a lack of bean sprouts. Here's some recent experiences and pics:
On Balboa in SF, Shanghai House's noodles are housemade, have a great chew, and are more squarish than flattish. I'm still thinking about the cabbage, which had a wonderful intense flavor and char marks. Scant amount of spinach helped round out the dish.
On Taraval in SF, Dumpling Kitchen has flattish irregularly shaped house made noodles. Fantastic chewy texture. These are exactly what I'm looking for. The rest of the dish was good, but not as good as at Shanghai House. In particular, the cabbage and green onions were too lightly cooked, and didn't have as intense a flavor.
On Taraval in SF, Kingdom of Dumpling has the characters for Shanghai style noodles listed on the menu, but I was unable to convince the waiter to give me that noodle outside of soup.
On Market in SF, Shanghai Restaurant lists an udon noodle dish that sounded enough like Shanghai style noodles that I ordered it. Both the bartender and the server agreed that they noodles were "homemade," so I gave it a shot. As advertised on the menu, the noodles were indeed udon, and definitely store bought. That's my bad--- I need to remember to clarify whether "the dough" is homemade. In any case, the dish was water logged and overloaded with vegetables.
On Balboa in SF, Shanghai Dumpling King had the worst housemade noodles of the lot. The squarish and overcooked noodles lacked any char or outside starch, so the sauce slipped right off of them. The noodles were mostly scraps-- lots of 1-2" pieces.
On Webster in Oakland, Shanghai Restaurant has a noodle dish listed in English as Shanghai style noodles. These were the lowest gauge Shanghai noodles I've eaten. They're squarish, and just fatter than the largest size of spaghetti. According to the chef, they're house made. There was some charring on the noodles, and I liked the dishes flavor, but it wasn't the noodle I was looking for.
The quest now is a hybrid of Shanghai House's charred vegetable preparation with Dumpling Kitchen's flat noodles. Any other spots in SF, the peninsula, or East Bay, worth checking out? It's been a while, but the ones at Bund Shanghai and Five Happiness never wowed me.