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101 Noodle Express - Culver City????

  • m

Apologies if I'm late on a topic that's already been covered. Was at Westfield Culver City over the weekend and saw "coming this summer - 101 Noodle Express" - Was I hallucinating? Will there really be Beef Rolls, Noodles and Dumplings this far west? Anyone have any more info?

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  1. Yelp set up a page with photo from mall that says coming soon. We can all dream.
    http://www.yelp.com/biz/101-noodle-ex...

    1. OMG - this would be a chowhounds wet dream if it is a ) true and b) done right.
      So many other SGVers have tried to "Go West Young Man" - Ocean Star-Royal Star, etc. Most often there is a promising start than a not-very-gradual slide into yuck.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Ciao Bob

        Their storefront in the food court was set up (located right by Kyochon), with the coming soon sign in front. Was just missing food and employees. There was also a "help wanted" sign with a 626 number. I hope it works out this time!

      2. OMG! This and the fact that Yamada is also going to be serving booze when it opens is the best Culver City news of the day!! I spend way too much time at the mall (Between my Bird Pick and Forever 21 habit) that this will bring me MUCH happiness! :D

        --Dommy!

        1. Actually, an out of the mainstream regional specialty like this might make sense based on the success of Xi'an Famous Foods in New York. There's no Xi'an food anywhere on these shores except in New York, yet they've been able to branch out into East Greenwich Village after making their mark in Flushing and Manhattan Chinatown. I think something like that is more likely to create a buzz on the Westside than a run of the mill dim sum or seafood place.

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          Greenwich Village Cafe
          3809 S Soto St, Vernon, CA 90058

          27 Replies
          1. re: Chandavkl

            I'm more surprised that DTF hasn't done it yet, while at the same time they expand to Seattle. Go figure.

            1. re: ipsedixit

              Yes, that was a head scratcher given that the Bay Area and New York would die for a branch. Maybe they want to attract the Vancouverites without setting up shop in Canada. Of course, there's the fake Din Tai Fung in Toronto (actually Markham).

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              Din Tai Fung Restaurant
              1108 S Baldwin Ave, Arcadia, CA 91007

            2. re: Chandavkl

              Xi'ans success is purely Non-Asian PR driven (though they didn't actually have to pay for any of it). Without Serious Eats, Village Voice & NYT, Xi'an would be just another regional Chinese stall. In LA, it wouldn't even make a peep, save a timely post by you.

              Majority of the dishes at Xi'an can be found in LA, save for that infamous lamb "burger". Combining the offers at 818 Shao Kao, Shenyang Restaurant and JTYH would basically give you all of Xi'an Famous' menu.

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              JTYH Restaurant
              9425 Valley Blvd, Rosemead, CA 91770

              1. re: TonyC

                And apparently it is open.

                First twitter pix in: http://twitpic.com/5mnyp7 (by @danieleats)

                1. re: TonyC

                  and first two (mixed) Yelps: http://www.yelp.com/biz/101-noodle-ex...
                  I'll have to give it a try either way.

                  1. re: Chandavkl

                    I wouldn't worry about it. Very disappointing. Love the original, but the CC location has tiny portions and high prices. It tasted like it was made a week ago.

                    Kyochon, on the other hand, fared a lot better. Piping hot wings. I will say that they keep confusing me by changing their menu and adding a lot of items that dilute the brand. But it was one of the best Mall Food Court meals I've had (which isn't saying much). 101 Noodle Express was a big drag though.

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                    101 Noodle Express
                    1408 E Valley Blvd, Alhambra, CA 91801

                  2. re: TonyC

                    Tony: Where else can I get wide, hand-pulled noodles, besides Omar's?

                    1. re: odub

                      Kam Hong bud. It ain't hand pulled, but it's hand knead, knife cut wide. Very nice. Better (more consistent) than the knife shaved IMO.

                      Unfortunately, that beef broth is rather weak as well :\

                      There is no perfect NRM in LA.

                      1. re: TonyC

                        Sometimes I don't understand the fascination -- myopically, so -- with hand-pulled noodles.

                        Most of the folks in SGV that purport to have hand-pulled noodles do it either (1) poorly or (2) incorrectly.

                        Like you, I would much rather have a bowl of hand-rolled and cut noodles done well (which are easier to make than hand-pulled noodles) than a bowl of poorly made hand pulled noodles.

                        Heck, in fact, I would have a bowl of quality fresh commercial grade noodles than a bowl of poorly made hand-pulled noodles.

                        1. re: ipsedixit

                          How do you tell the difference, ipse? Consistency? Texture? Taste?

                          1. re: Phurstluv

                            How do you tell the difference, ipse? Consistency? Texture? Taste?
                            ______________________

                            The difference between good and bad hand-pulled noodles is all about the chewiness or what is called the "Q" in Taiwanese. Good hand-pulled noodles, for lack of a better way of describing it, is like perfectly prepared "al dente" noodles that have been fully cooked. If that makes any sense at all ...

                            As to the difference between hand-pulled and knife-cut, or even hand rolled? Visually.

                          2. re: ipsedixit

                            > Most of the folks in SGV that purport to have hand-pulled
                            > noodles do it either (1) poorly or (2) incorrectly."

                            This is what I don't get. Before I moved to LA, I thought hand-pulled noodles meant this:

                            - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iUIv3-...

                            However, hand-pulled at places like Kam Hong seems to mean "cut and stretched before boiling". Are both types of noodles "hand pulled"? Or are places like Kam Hong using poetic license? Or is there something else altogether going on in the original Mandarin terminology?

                            1. re: Peripatetic

                              IIRC, Kam Hong has 3 kinds of noodles: 'shou la', i.e., hand pulled, 'shou gan' (hand kneaded, knife cut), and dao xiao (knife shaved off of a ball of dough).

                              Whether or not they're done properly, I think the shou la noodles at Kam Hong are pulled rather than cut. I don't know if they follow the exact same "pulling" method as the Gansu style ones in the video you link to - I've only seen them do it a few times, and it was ages ago.

                              This CCTV bit on Shanxi noodles includes a bit hand-pulled noodles here:
                              http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uJJRQF...
                              (the whole piece shows a variety of different styles of noodles made in that area)

                              1. re: will47

                                I have a feeling that Kam Kong (and many other places that purport to have "hand pulled" noodles) are outsourcing them. There is one supplier that is selling commercially made "hand-pulled" noodles that are actually quite good.

                                  1. re: raytamsgv

                                    If you're really interested, I'd have to ask. Commercial sales only. Let me know.

                                    1. re: ipsedixit

                                      Don't bother--I wouldn't purchase enough for them. Thanks anyway.

                                  2. re: ipsedixit

                                    How about an expose ipsedixit. Who has on-site hand pulled noodles versus those that only offer those delivered to them?

                                    1. re: JThur01

                                      Does it really matter? The pre-made hand-pulled noodles might actually be better than the one produced in-house. The noodles are essentially a raw ingredient. I think it's what the cooks do with those noodles that is the most important factor.

                                      As an analogy Italian restaurants have many types of pasta, but is it that important if the noodles were made on the spot or purchased from a supplier?

                                      1. re: raytamsgv

                                        Just because it's made in-house doesn't mean it's made better. Read: bread.

                                        1. re: TonyC

                                          Just because it's made in-house doesn't mean it's made better. Read: bread.
                                          ______________________

                                          Bingo.

                                          And most people here would flunk a blind taste test of hand-pulled noodles versus regular noodles.

                                          It it was Chowhound versus Noodle? I'd take Noodle.

                                          1. re: ipsedixit

                                            To answer ray, Tony and ispedixit, respectively: not really, yes...absolutely, good point, agree and I'd take noodle as well.

                                            Simple curiousity on my part.

                                1. re: Peripatetic

                                  Since we're all about bumpin' up (some rather ancient) noodle threads today:

                                  http://kuishinbomeow.blogspot.com/200...

                                  Peripatetic, someone should've answered you re: "authentic"/"real" hand pulled noodles eons ago.

                                  Malan, since they opened, have always employed Latino noodle-pullers. I don't know if that qualifies as "true", but that's neither here nor there.

                                  If pulled by hand, "shou la mian, if shaved by blade, "dao xiao" mian. Ain't flying into Lanzhou anytime soon, so I feel rather freaking fortuitous we have so many options in LA as is.

                                  Old chow threads:
                                  http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/771014
                                  http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/6560...
                                  etc.

                                  1. re: TonyC

                                    Kam Hong lists:

                                    刀削 - dāo xiāo (knife pared)
                                    手拉 - shǒu lā (hand pulled)
                                    手桿 - shǒu gǎn (hand kneaded?)

                                    The 手拉 (shǒu lā) at Kam Hong is not at all like the hand pulled in the youtube video. It's squared off -- much like giant udon. They claimed it was cut and then pulled. It's entirely possible we were whited (although my wife is Korean, which seems to limit our susceptibility to this practice).

                                    1. re: Peripatetic

                                      I haven't been to Kam Hong since March, but the daughter (I assume) mentioned one of these three were finished with a machine? I thought it was the hand-kneeded.

                        2. re: Chandavkl

                          ther's a place next to lucky noodle that has some xi'an specialties, blanking on the name, sorry.

                        3. Just went there today. Dan Dan noodles were gloopy and uninspiring, with none of the gentle notes that give the dish its occasional wonder. Won't return. Hate malls anyway!

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: echoparkdirt

                            I think this is one of those places that is a viable option if you live around that part of the city, but if one actually has to "go" or "drive" there, might as well make the trek to SGV and visit the Death Star itself. Especially today, when the traffic on the roads are something like pre-1980s.

                          2. Just ate there. Limited offerings of a limited menu as they gear up; just Items 3-7 off their menu today. I had the spicy beef noodle soup, which was good but not great--decent (and actually a bit spicy) broth, large slices of a tender and tasty beef and al dente noodles which did more for texture than flavor [they neither imparted nor partook of much flavor vis-a-vis the broth) and two pieces of the beef roll--which were just ok. They hope to have dumplings up and running by next week and the rest of the items (including rice--not sure why that would take longer) the following week or two. If you are in the area, and in the mood for an asian noodle soup, it is not a bad option...at least until Yamadaya opens up on Washington near Sepulveda and blows them away! Speaking of which, Yamadaya now has signage up, though clearly still needs interior work.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: New Trial

                              From someone who has never experienced the original --

                              My family ate at 101 a week or two ago. We sampled the spicy beef soup and the beef rolls, purely because I gleaned those were the go to items from reading this message board.

                              The first batch of soup we took to our table had ice cold beef in hot broth. We had to send it back and they gave us a new one. We thought it was okay, but not nearly as good as I thought it would be given the hype. It was a decent beef soup, with a bit of spice, no more no less.

                              The beef rolls were okay, but they can't be as good as the original because no one would come on the message board and wax sublime over them. If I want beef wrapped in something, I'll go to Sanchez for an asada burrito.

                              The Fox Hills Mall is my neighborhood -- I go there all the time. But I never really eat there. Unless I'm starving I probably still won't eat there. (When I'm starving and near the mall I go to Sorrento's for a sandwich or something.)

                            2. This may be a little off-thread, but I liked the Pho place in Culver City on Sepulveda. I googled and found "Pho Show" so that's probably it. a block or so south of Culver Blvd, west side of street. It has mixed reviews on Yelp, but the broth was very good the night I went. Of course you can go down to Gardena and find a lot more choices.