Hand-pulled noodles in Chelmsford [moved from Southern New England board]
I've been driving by this place for a while - and it's finally open. It's run by a young Mongolian couple, and they're starting out pretty basic - with three main items on the menu: a Mongolian flatbread sandwich with choice of meat, a bowl of hand-pulled noodles, and a bowl of noodle soup, with their home made noodles. I had the noodle soup. The noodles were amazingly good. Just the exactly right bite - a little chewy, but tender. The soup was quite flavorful - obviously a scratch, long-cooked broth with telltale signs of being made from bones. It was not too salty, plenty of small chunks of pork. My only complaint would be that they used cubed carrots and potatoes and peas - probably form a frozen mix, although not at all overcooked and mushy. I didn't really ask them about this - I do get the impression that they're trying to meet what they perceive to be local tastes. I would have preferred some bok choi or long beans - maybe some fungus, etc. - but for all I know, potatoes and carrots are more authentic to Mongolian cooking. In any case, I would have preferred large pieces instead of the small cubes, which immediately appear frozen, even if they're not.
I really hope that people try this place and give this young couple a reason to expand their menu. The noodles are really worth the admission price - but I'd love to see dumplings.
The location is on the main drag between Chelmsford and Westford - 257 Littleton Rd - which runs parallel to I-495. There is a diverse ethnic community in the area. I hope that they get some great business.
I've been waiting for Gene's Chinese Flatbread Cafe to open for a while, especially because I was intrigued by the name and curious about what they would serve. It's also very near my house. So far, I only tried the chicken sandwich and some spring rolls, but I will be back soon for the soup and noodles. The sandwich was basically a stir fry in a round flat bland roll. Cool idea, and it was pretty good, but small (it's only 4 bucks, and you can easily eat 2). It's a good sign that there were mostly Asians in the place, but this location is somewhat cursed, perhaps by it's proximity to a trailer park and down and out liquor store. I'm a bit worried about their survival if they don't expand the menu a bit, since they only have about 12 items right now. I'm not talking about Crab Rangoons and General Gau's, but more along the lines of Chinese comfort food. I hope they do well.
I spoke with the owner. They are from Xi'an in western China. This is not Mongolia, not even the Inner Mongolia region of China. A friend who spends several months a year in Mongolia assures me that the food at Gene's is not Mongolian, which is a good thing. True Mongolian food uses very little vegetables or spice.
Despite its name, noodles are the star of this restaurant's menu.