Je' Bon noodle shop
My friends and I dined at Je' Bon after a mediocre review by Gothamist. Main points:
-They don't have their liquor license yet, so it's BYOB. Strangely, they have their alcoholic options already printed on the menu.
-Waitstaff was attentive and friendly.
-Service was incredibly s l o w once the restaurant got crowded. Their kitchen couldn't handle half the orders that came in. We waited an eternity for our food. Guests seated at adjacent tables were disgruntled for the same reason.
-The food itself wasn't bad, but certainly nothing exciting. The noodles were cooked inconsistently between dishes--mine were al dente and edible, some of my friends had overcooked strands of mush. We all agreed that their noodles were cut too long and difficult to eat. They need to perfect their cooking technique to attain a level of consistency that would draw back any customers.
-While dining, we ordered a noodle dish for takeout. We waited well over an hour and a half after ordering. Various waiters and waitresses assured us that our food was coming, but we eventually gave up and asked to cancel the order and let us leave. We were informed that they had just walked out of the kitchen and was watching the chefs pack up our order to go. We waited another 15 minutes, then walked directly to the manager standing by the kitchen doors to inquire. "Sorry, sorry..." we were repeatedly told. We stood around for another ten minutes, got our food, and grumbled all the way home.
-Overall, the food was just OK. They don't have it down to a science like other high-volume noodle shops like Republic. Pricing is reasonable, especially their appetizers. Service was OK at first, until it became clear that they were deflecting our impatience with misleading words. The manager barely gave us the time of day. No alcohol available.
I wouldn't go back unless I was specifically told they've turned things around. It was a frustrating dining experience.
I went to this place once, and had a soup that not only was rather tasteless but that had napa cabbage in it that was so undercooked that it hurt my teeth when I bit down on it. Granted, that was a few months ago, but as I recall, it cost more than Menkui Tei, which though I don't love it for their ramen, is quite a bit better than what I had at Je'Bon. As for Chinese food, Grand Sichuan is some feet away on the same block.
I have dropped in at Je'Bon a number of times for their lunch special. The quality of their cooking is well above what you would expect at a modestly priced Chinese restaurant. The food comes out quickly, is very tasty and well-prepared (the only exception was on my first visit, when the waitress forgot to place my order, and getting any status on it was impossible, even though it was past lunch time and there were few patrons).
Anyway, the owner says his chef is from HK, and it is clear that this is not a canned brown sauce slap-it-together type of restaurant. They turn out an excellent dim sum lunch featuring five pieces of freshly and expertly prepared assorted dim sum. I've also had their beef chow fun lunch, which is very tasty. Lunches cost an amazing $5.99, and include a cup of real tea (not the dish water others usually serve) and some also include a soup. The soups vary each week, and have included a delicious sweet soy soup (such as the Shanghainese offer with their brunch) and a good miso soup.
All in all, a great deal on really well-prepared Chinese food. I plan to go back for dinner some time.