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Noodle Shop, San Mateo - it's new, anyone try it?

Found on yelp, this place sounds good. Hope others try it before me.

Noodle Shop
164 W. 25th Ave
San Mateo, CA 94497
650-345-1277

hand-pulled noodles
vegetarian goose rolls
xlb, etc., etc.

weekend 11-3 specials:
soy bean milk, chinese donut, green onion pancake, etc., etc.

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  1. I have not had a chance but my colleague (who is our tester) went there last week and came back with a big thumbs up after trying the noodle dish. Serving size is big and one order of noodles can easily feed 2.

    1. I went there tonight for the first time. The place has the same owners as the Shanghai Dumpling Shop on Broadway in Millbrae.

      We got there around 7:30 and the place is clean, bright, but still rather empty (not sure how long they have been open). The menu is simple, on a double-sided letter-sized piece of paper. Only on the weekends, do they have the morning/brunch type items like soy milk, yow tieu (yo tiao), "chive pie," etc...

      I was tempted to try their beef noodle soup, but I was intrigued by their sichuan "ma la" (numbing hot) noodle soup. My dining companion is vegetarian, so got their vegetarian noodle soup. To start, we settled on their mapo tofu buns (also vegetarian) since we figured their xiao long baus would be similar or the same as the ones served in their Dumpling Shop in Milbrae.

      My noodles came out first and like some other reports I've read on yelp, the serving size is rather large. Small eaters could easily share one bowl. The broth was a slightly oily, and a dark shade of red, with lots of chives, chinese mushrooms and some ground pork. The noodles are of medium thickness (udon width, or what you normally see in Taiwanese noodle shops) with a nice bite to it. I found the chewiness (Q, tsoi, wiriness, el dente, whatever you want to call it) fine for my tastes, but my companion preferred an even thicker noodle and possibly a bit chewier. Off the top of my head, it's about the same as the A&J taiwanese place in Cupertino. The broth was kind of disappointing. There wasn't enough body in it for me. It kind of reminded me of watery, spicy broth with no meat-stock backbone. The level of spiciness was between mild and medium; I'm not sure if they use the "real" ma-la peppercorns but it reminded me of the ma-la stuff I had in Beijing. There isn't that much ground pork in the broth either and while I like chives fine in my dumplings, I don't necessarily like to eat stalks of it in my noodle soup. But those are my taste buds. Lots of noodles though. The noodles retained a good deal of their texture even at the end of the bowl.

      My companion's vegetarian noodle soup, I didn't try much of, but don't expect to have a lot of vegetables floating around in the soup. They put a serving of their "vegetarian goose roll" (this fried bean curd with mushrooms thing) on top of the noodles and that's it. No greens of any kind. The broth, I'm not sure how they make. My friend thought that they used miso to make the milky colored broth, but upon tasting, I didn't really taste any miso. I almost want to say it tasted faintly of chicken seung tong (chinese version of stock) but hopefully it's not.

      Despite this negative sounding review, I would have to come back and try their versions of niou rho mian (beef noodle soup), dan dan mian, and some others. Preferably on a weekend, when I can try their breakfast items too.

      I'll post some photos and the menu tomorrow.

      7 Replies
      1. re: Cary

        Thanks Cary for your report. It sounds good to me. Is it cash only still or do they take credit cards?

        1. re: hhc

          I'm thinking it's a matter of time before they take credit cards, probably another 2-3 weeks or so, that's what happened with Blue Sky Cafe.

          I can't wait to try this place out this week!

            1. re: Cary

              Ate dinner there last night. They took my Mastercard no problem.

            1. re: Cary

              I was sitting at the table next to you. I recognized that "vegetarian goose" topping on your companion's bowl of noodles. We had the vegetarian goose appetizer along with the xiao lung bao (10pcs), pork chop noodle and bean sauce noodle. The pork chop noodles were actually made with spareribs instead of a sliced pork chop mixed with hand pulled noodles in a brown beansy broth. Flavor was okay. The XLBs were decent tasting but with very fragile and delicate skins that split open when trying to separate them while conjoined. They may have tasted better had I not had Din Tai Fung's XLB the day before in SoCal which I used as a baseline in comparing Noodle Shop's XLBs. DTF's skin was delicate but firm, firm enough I could pick them up without fear the skin will easily tear and spill all that heavenly glory. I don't think I will be ordering their bean sauce noodle any time soon as it wasn't the type of bean flavor taste I was expecting.

              1. re: AJ8

                What a coincidence! I wondered if one of the two of you was a Chowhound. My chowhound-radar was going off a little after I heard you order the bean sauce noodle after you finished the other stuff.

          1. Woohoo! Thanks all for the reports. This is a real short drive from me, and I'd been looking for a noodle place to add to the rotation of Everyday Beijing and Santa Ramen. Will definitely try it out soon and add to the reviews.

            Anyone know what their hours/days of operation are?

            2 Replies
            1. re: Eugene Park

              Hours:

              Mon-Tue, Thu-Sun 11:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m.
              Mon-Tue, Thu-Sun 5:00 p.m.-9:00 p.m.

              1. re: Nancy Berry

                Thanks Nancy. Wife & I may go there for an early dinner tonight.

            2. I just went there after a relaxing pedicure across the street. My friend and I had the tofu skin roll (Vegetarian Goose) and it was good. Room temp, lightly pan fried on the outside and the mushrooms inside were very tasty. We shared the seafood soup. I think it's a pretty large serving, recognizable hand-pulled noodles, fair amount of seafood, two green lip mussels, some shrimp and scallops. The broth has lots of white pepper, which I like, but I was wanting a little more flavor. It was salty enough, but needed a little more something...Anyway, the noodles were "al dente" and soaked up more flavor as you continue eating. They don't have a lot of that chewyness that I expect from hand pulled noodles, but I suppose the batches can come out different. They were done with some talent though, all the noodles were pretty much the same diameter and not too thick. In the end, I don't think I would go running back for more, but I am curious about the more meaty noodle soups...

              1. Stopped by here yesterday for lunch, place was less than half full during the noon hour.

                Storefront -
                http://farm2.static.flickr.com/1177/7...

                With the heat of the day, the cold sesame noodles, $6.75, sounded good to me. As others have mentioned, serving size is big here. I couldn't finish the portion, though I might have if the food had been tastier.

                Cold sesame noodles -
                http://farm2.static.flickr.com/1072/7...

                The noodles were quite firm with irregular texture. Yet, I found them gummy rather than chewy, getting stuck in my molars. Knife-work is not as expert as Everyday Beijing for slivering the cucumbers and carrots on top, supplemented with bean sprouts and iceberg shredded lettuce. The sesame saucing was quite bland and undersalted. I had to add soy sauce, then some white pepper, and even then, it wasn't very flavorful. Pretty much straight sesame paste, no ginger, garlic or sugar perceptible. The soy sauce egg on top was a nice touch, now that was plenty salty, too much so.

                I wouldn't order this again.

                1. I went there today with my wife. I ordered the beef noodle soup and she ordered the pork chop vegetable rice. As others have mentioned, the portions are bigger than average. The noodles were pretty good - not the best but definitely not the worst. They did soak up the soup really quickly so make sure you don't finish the soup first or else you'll just be eating noodles. My one qualm with the beef noodle soup is that I like mine spicy. Although the soup had a red chile in there, I wish they put in more (and perhaps even red chile oil like some other places do). The vegetable rice was good and not too greasy or salty; the rice offered a good counterbalance to the pork chops.

                  Overall, the place is decent. I wouldn't necessarily go out of the way to go to the place. I think Shanghai Dumpling House in Millbrae is still the better restaurant to go to when looking for a complete meal. If you're already in San Mateo and looking for something new, only then would I recommend this place.

                  1. Anyone try their xiaolong bao yet?...

                    The Chronicle just wrote about them this week: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article...

                    1. Intriguing. I missed this thread until now as I was traveling, but will have to check NS out. Here's some info and photos on Smalltown:

                      http://www.smalltown.com/sanmateo/car...

                      Do the XLB's reach the standard of Shanghai Dumpling King (San Francisco)? I was disappointed in the ones at the Millbrae branch.