Xi’an Famous Foods in Manhattan: A Noodle House in Chinatown
When cultish Flushing fave Xi’an Famous Foods opened an outpost here in Manhattan last month, food writers prestigious (Sam Sifton in the Times) and now (Yelpers galore) went a little nuts praising the hand-pulled noodles, the Liang Pi, the stewed lamb spine. So when we found ourselves walking through Chinatown on a bitter cold, late-Sunday-morning last weekend (don’t ask), we decided to pick up some lunch at Xi’an Famous Foods in Manhattan take-out-only spot, hopped on the train, and unpacked and dove in to a minor midday feast once we got home. Sadly, we were totally underwhelmed while eating our lunch… and, even more sadly, totally overwhelmed the rest of the day by the food’s staying power.
Xi’an Famous Foods in Manhattan is tiny, with room for about five people to stand while waiting for their noodles to be pulled. We tried a few dishes from all over the brief (and gratefully, almost ridiculously inexpensive) menu, but came up short each time. First, the Savory Cumin Lamb Burger, a pile of heavily-spiced meat crammed into a pita-like roll of no particular distinction. The meat is moist, the sandwich cheap and filling, but the dominant–really, the ONLY–flavor you get here is cumin. If you’re not a fan, stay far, far away.
Xi’an Famous Foods in Manhattan famous noodles were next, in two varieties. Those wide, white, hand-pulled come with all sorts of toppings–including Lamb Spine, and Spicy and Tingly Beef–and we went the Stewed Pork route. The consensus around the table: the meat here was the best part of the meal, tender and moist and sweet and just-right spicy. Somewhat surprisingly, the noodles themselves were basically tasteless, serving only as a gummy, stomach-bloating delivery system for the sauce. The dish we enjoyed least, the Liang Pi Cold Skin Noodles, is what others call their most crave-worthy, so don’t just take our word for it. In fact, we didn’t even really know what we were eating here (is that spongy stuff tripe? some sort of root?), but we do know that it was pretty unpleasant. Or maybe Sunday at noon isn’t the really the time for this sort of food?
Xi’an Famous Foods Manhattan Details
Xi’an Famous Foods in Manhattan is located on Forsyth Street just north of East Broadway in Chinatown. The address listed is 88 East Broadway, but don’t go into the mall… Xi’an Famous Foods is on the eastern exterior. The take-out-only storefront is open every day from 11:00 a.m. until 8:00 p.m. There are also two locations in Flushing and in Queens. For information and a complete menu, please visit the Xi’an Famous Foods website.