Flying Pan Bistro noodles
Flying Pan Bistro has re-opened, and now features house-made noodles. Their eel noodle dish is the best "shan hu" prep I have enocuntered, including in China. Has any else tried it? What have you liked?
New Flying Pan Bistro
680 Clay St, San Francisco, CA
this thread has been on my mind, and today i had to opportunity to try flying pan bistro out. at almost 2 PM i was the only customer in the restaurant, which is too bad. i wanted to try out the smoked fish noodles, but i couldn't resist trying the zha jiang mian, especially after seeing the photos. i also ordered the vegetarian goose, and a glass of black soy milk.
i grew up loving korean-style jjajang myon, with the thick, dark-fudge colored sauce with meat and or seafood. the versions i've had in this city (ie san tung or san wang) are pretty much in this mold. what i ate today was totally different, with pros and cons.
it was much lighter, in texture and color. there definitey was some hot bean paste, as it had a mild spiciness, with scarlet flecks of chili clinging to the noodles. the biggest departure for me was all the vegetables mixed with the ground pork. i found minced shitake, carrot, wood ear, pressed tofu, peas and edamame. all were welcome except the peas, which had softened too much, unlike the sturdier soy beans. there was also a small pile of blanched baby bok choy under the noodles, and a bit of spinach as well, i believe. the usual cucumber julienne garnish was finely shredded, almost gossamer.
noodles themselves i found to be a bit too soft for me, which was disappointing since they make them in house. portion size was perfect for me, too. i just can't finish off big bowls of starch bombs. overall, it was a very nice dish, and i was intrigued by such a drastically different version of a dish i am otherwise quite familiar with. if i had placed that bowl in front of my mom, she probably would've poked at it with her chopsticks and ordered something else, but i liked it. strong, beany flavors in the sauce, but light on grease and cornstarch sludge.
vegetarian goose was very nicely done, with a great outer skin, a little crispy and brown, actually visually resemembling a goose or duck breast with skin, unlike many versions i've seen. inner rolled up bean curd sheets were very tender. it was very salty, though.
i am never ordering a $4 glass of black soy milk ever again.
why was i the only one there? this place is unique and fresh. now that i'm no longer curious about the very different zha jiang mian, i want to try the rest of the noodles and other dishes. but being a lunch only spot will make that difficult for me. they told me that they are only open for dinner "for reservation," which i took to mean for special parties. like perhaps for a chowdown?
My wife and I ate lunch at the Flying Pan today. We asked for four dishes and enjoyed each and every one: the cucumber salad was refreshing and very delicately flavored. The pork and pumpkin pot stickers were also quite light yet flavorful. We were very impressed by the salted Nanjing duck, a dish we have frequently eaten in China. The version here is substantially meatier than most of those we have had in China, and the flavoring was just as good. Our last dish was fresh soy beans, bean curd sheet pieces, and celery. This was fresh and refreshing (pardon the redundancy).
We thought the food was as good if not better than most of the food we eat in China. The server said the chef was from Nanjing, which figures. We will return, but today we were the only customers.
re: Michael Rodriguez
You're making me feel guilty, as I haven't been in several weeks. I'll have to get back there this week.
Nei Chia Ji, the Jai Yun chef/owner is one of the owners of record of Flying Pan, and I have heard his son is involved, though I don't know if he cooks. In any event, it definitely has the Jai Yun stamp on the food, so what is everybody waiting for? We've gotta keep this gem afloat!
Lunch 11am - 3pm Monday thru Saturday. (Dinners: possibly December 2007)
Liu Ye Huang Gua: Willow leaf-shaped cucumber salad
Wu Xiang Niu Rou: Thin sliced beef in five spices
Kai Kou Gua Tie: Pan fried pot stickers with pumpkin and pork
Xue Cai Bai Ye Mao Dou: fresh soy beans with bean curd sheets and vegetables
tea and rice
$23.87 total + tip
A very healthful lunch of fresh ingredients and clean flavors; lovely presentations. It's very quiet at lunchtime today...
I tried the eel noodle dish today - I loved the first bite, but then the sweetness started getting to me. I ended up having to take most of it home, because I was drinking so much water between bites to clear out residual sugar that I filled up too quickly. At home, I tried adding a little black vinegar to the leftovers, which balanced it out.
From the OP's picture, I was expecting thicker, more irregular, chewier noodles - mine were fine but not distinguishable from a good commercial noodle. There wasn't much chew to them.
Also had the open ended potstickers, which were tasty.
re: david kaplan
Well... they were somewhere in between. There was a broth-y sauce. Or a sauce-y broth. Enough to soak through the takeout container by the time I got home.
I'm still really puzzled by the noodles - is it possible that I there too early, and they substituted commercial noodles? You commented on the texture of the noodles upthread - were yours chewy? Were they regular or irregular?
re: david kaplan
The eel dish is a "dry" noodle dish, but somewhat saucy as daveena mentioned because of the cooking method. "Xiang you shan hu" calls for the slivers of eel to be cooked by pouring a hot, spiced oil over them and then liberally sprinkled with white pepper. I didn't find it any sweeter than the Jiangsu-Shanghai canon decrees; it's nowhere as sweet as the Xun Yu (smoked fish) noodle soup.
I went for lunch today and had the smoked fish noodle soup. It is a large pile of homemade noodles with some rich broth and a pile of fish on top. The fish wasn't actually smoked but rather was dried, fried, and marinated in a sweet and slightly salty thin sauce. Somehow, the marination didn't make the fried edges of the fish soggy. I really liked the fish, and the noodles had great texture. They gave me a little cucumber salad, which was mildly vinegared and refreshing.
On another table I saw zha ziang mian, and it looked much improved over the version I had here months ago (http://www.chowhound.com/topics/382793). Not only does it now have fresh noodles, but it also is no longer overloaded with "filler" vegetables. I'm excited to try it and other dishes here.
They're open only for lunch, and they're not set-up for to-go orders yet.
re: david kaplan
We must have been there at the same time, but didn't recognize eachother (although I was thinking of you and zha ziang mian)!
My friend and I had:
1. zha jiang mian - spicy minced pork noodle $6.5. Very different from Z&Y. No sesame paste. No gritty texture, which I like. Could be hotter since I felt no ma la (they'd probably accomodate). Noodles themself were fine, but nothing special. The waitress said that the noodles are rolled and not pulled and that these are 2 very different techniques. The topping was a mixture of meat and vegetables. Nice dish overall, but my gold standard was what Z&Y sadly no longer executes well.
2. song san su e - vegetarian goose $5.5. This is made from tofu sheets rolled up and nicely seasoned. My friend who is familiar with this said this version was very good. It just didn't ring my chowhound bell
3. xue cai bai ye mao dou - soy bean with bean curd & green vegetable $6.5. Well executed and seasoned. Not spicy.
The dinnerware was not your standard chinese restaurant type. They were funky shapes you'd find in an upscale restaurant.
A find! Go there now before it gets busy.
re: david kaplan
David is right, Xun Yu is not really smoked despite the name. It's really "caramelized" for lack of a better term. It's most often served as a cold appetizer. I've had it served hot before, but never in a soup. Unfortunately, the broth was much too sweet for me in this dish.
The same chef who did the appetizers in FPB's earlier incarnation is still there and responsible for more of the dishes. They promised me they are going to bring back the malantou ("morning glory") with minced dry tofu they offered before, but it's not on the menu yet.
They still position the food as Shanghainese, so don't expect anything to be really spicy, Elise.
That's great news. Can you say more about the house-made noodles? I couldn't tell what style they are from the picture.
The menu on the website looks similar to the pre-renovation menu with the addition of noodles and dumplings.