Fantastic Big Flat Lamb Noodle Soup in Flushing, 41-28 Main
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.
The mall you were looking for is at 41-82 Main St. It's lucky for us that you went to the "wrong" place!!!
Nice post. I have to admit, I find Flushing intimidating. There are just so many little restaurants and "malls" at every turn. I just don't know where to begin. I like reading these type of posts so I can have a destination to hone in on. Sounds like a great dish you had. Do you know the name in Chinese?...Chinese characters I mean, not romanized...
I'd like to sample this soup too, but how does someone order a dish there with no knowledge of the language? Do you recall the number of the dish? How did you go about it? Ask for the 'house specialty', I suppose? If I wind up with duck tongue soup, you'll hear about it! : ) LMK.
Silverjay, sorry. My Chinese lags way behind my pig latin, which, to be honest, was never all that ot-hay.
This place is not hard to find; the mall is tiny as malls go. Like I wrote in my post, walk to the back, go up a few steps, it's on the right hand side, across a narrow hallway from a haircutting place. There's a small-but-hard-to-miss sign with a man bearing a chef's hat, underneath him an arrow in blue I believe. I did not find this place intimidating at all. The proprietors and the other customers were very pleasant to me, and encouraging, even if we couldn't communicate all that well.
Also, for what it's worth, the other stalls looked good as well, and there was one dumpling place, not far from the entrance, that had English translations on the wall menu.
Cheese Boy: I was fully prepared to just walk in anywhere, look at what others were eating, and point out the dish that I wanted. But, in this case, the guy who was making the noodles by hand said, "noodle with lamb" to me. It looked to be what everyone else was having as well. This is not a joint with a lot of choices, to be sure. Maybe this was the noodle soup of the day - who knows? I'm always prepared to take a chance, but, if you're not in the mood to do that, it would probably be a good idea to hit up Chinese speakers on this board for some simple translations. Come to think of it, that's a nice topic for another posting, and it ties in well with the other recent post about being intimidated by Flushing.
Duck Tongue Soup, huh? That actually sounds enticing, but I'll owe you one.
there is another one of these weird mall places across the street from the Post Office and Kam San on Kissena; this place also has a great sesame bread, and a smaller variety with a lot more fat in it, which made a very flaky bread, almost like a cross between sesame bread and 1000-layer cake. amazingly cheap; and they also sell a very cheap vegetable bun.
I walked by yesterday and yes, as Brian S., said, this is the 41-82 Mall, a much smaller production than the 41-28 Mall, also called Golden Shopping Mall, where this wondrous lamb was noodle was (many many stalls in there, hard to find the exact one although they all seemed to offer up delicious noodle soups.