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Uncle Zhou 大河人家 Elmhurst

Uncle Zhou opened three months ago and brings the cuisine of Henan (as well as other regions of China) to the original Queens Chinatown. Located just a few steps away from the new location of Lao Bei Fang (and around the corner from Lao Kou Wei), the number of places serving hand-pulled noodles in the area has tripled in recent months. Dumplings have come along for the ride, as have knife cut noodles! Meatball soups and house special entrées round out the menu.

On a recent visit, I was transfixed by a bowl of spicy beef knife shaved noodles [麻辣牛肉刀削面]. The noodles were irregularly chewy and the beef very tender, but what made my night was the broth that sang. It was so bright yet balanced that I initially thought there was something like lemon grass in it. It took me a minute and a few sips to realize that it was the expert use of Sichuan pepper. While 'tingling' is the characteristic usually attributed to the spice, it is a citrus and can have lemony overtones when fresh and of high quality. Here, the málà quality was refined and not something I wanted to ruin by adding anything, including chili oil. It's my new favorite bowl of noodles, for now.

An order of boiled lamb dumplings proved to be equally balanced, with a very tender wrapper and a juicy lamb filling which is best described as subtle. Yum.

Uncle Zhou 大河人家 [dà hé rén jiā]
83-29 Broadway nr. Dongan Av
Elmhurst Queens 11373
718.393.0888
M-F 8a-11p
S/S 9a-11p

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Lao Bei Fang
83-05 Broadway, Queens, NY 11373

Uncle Zhou
83-29 Broadway, Queens, NY 11373

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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  1. My wife and I were at Uncle Zhou last Thursday evening for the first time. We tried the same two dishes described above. The lamb dumplings were excellent. Neither of us could figure out what was in the broth of the spicy beef knife shaved noodles, but "bright" was exactly how I described it. It did have a sichuan peppercorn overtone, but I think there might have been some star anise too. In any case, it was also very good.

    We also tried the lamb with cumin. Bigger chunks of lamb than usual, fairly moist. This version had no scallion or onion as prepared at many other places, but had lots of cilantro that we mixed in. This dish was equal to all the other versions we've had but there was one downside that ruined it for my wife -- the cilantro had not been washed properly and left a gritty crunch to the dish. We didn't finish it but did take it home. With all the cilantro, it was difficult to reheat but I did. The lamb was even more spicy and flavorful, but the grit was also more pronounced. We'll probably try this dish again but either tell them to hold the cilantro, or we just won't mix it in until we're sure it was washed thoroughly.

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    Uncle Zhou
    83-29 Broadway, Queens, NY 11373

    1 Reply
    1. re: el jefe

      We had no problem with the cilantro--we ate it all, and loved their version of this dish (which I mostly know from the much more agressively spiced Sichuan version) So maybe it was an aberration--I would try it again.

    2. Glad to read this. I tried their pulled noodles soon after opening as a take out and found the broth dull and muted, which was at odds with the the really good feeling of the place and the people (as you have noted on another post going from vibe to food is not a foolproof endeavor). With a recs from you and el jeffe I'll retry.

      1. looks cool i wonder where uncle zhou is from

        5 Replies
        1. re: AubWah

          The family is from Zhengzhou, Henan.

          1. re: Joe MacBu

            Joe, any idea how food from Henan and Hubei compare?

            I have a friend who is looking for Hubei food, but the closest thing he's found so far is the Hunan place the Times reviewed in Flushing earlier this spring.

            This might be another good option for him....

            1. re: CitySpoonful

              Based on what I know of Hubei cuisine and what's served at the Henanese places here, I don't see much overlap, despite the shared border.

              1. re: CitySpoonful

                I asked the owner about similarities in the cuisine of the two provinces. He said that the noodle dishes he serves might seem familiar to those seeking Hubei cuisine.

                1. re: Joe MacBu

                  Joe, many thanks! I will pass this on to my friend. We're meeting for dinner next week -- perhaps we'll head to Uncle Zhou's rather than Flushing.

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                  Uncle Zhou
                  83-29 Broadway, Queens, NY 11373

          2. A specialty of Uncle Zhou and Henan province is the lamb mixed hand-drawn noodle (A1). It is made with hui mian [烩面 - "braised noodles"], which is a wide ribbon of hand-drawn wheat dough. The "nourishing" soups here (A1-A3) also include strips of kelp, tofu skin, glass noodles, bok choy, woodear mushrooms, and wolfberry. The broth tastes like pure lamb, without much spice getting in the way of the funk.

            The wide noodles also show up in big tray chicken [大盘鸡 dàpánjī], underneath the chicken. Ordering extra noodles will get another pile thrown on top.

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            Uncle Zhou
            83-29 Broadway, Queens, NY 11373

             
             
             
            1 Reply
            1. re: Joe MacBu

              wow that soup looks just like the one i've probably enjoyed 75 times from the henan snack shoppe on forsythe. the only thing that looks different is the green