Fox Hills Branch of 101 Noodle Express Re-Tools
It has been a few weeks since I suspended my futile quest for the elusive turkey roll at the Fox Hills Mall branch of 101 Noodle Express, so I thought I would give it another try. However instead of being told that the turkey rolls were not yet available but would be available "next week" , I found the item off the menu altogether. In fact, the menu is now significantly different. While the beef rolls and beef noodle soup are still there, they have been joined by chicken dishes (minced and teppan cooked), and more reasonably priced combination plates. For example, you can get two small beef rolls and minced chicken and teppan chicken over rice for $6.99, the price of three small beef rolls by themselves. Actually it almost looks like there has been a change of ownership, as there is a 15 percent "grand opening" discount banner by the counter, along with the new menu. However, signage still references the 101 Noodle Express master website, which does include the Fox Hills location, so it's clearly still part of the family. And the beef rolls are still just as good.
It is true that authentic Asian food that lands in Westside malls has been dumbed down, such as the defunct Manna also at Fox Hills and Ajisen Ramen in the Century City mall. However I don't think we should give too much credit to WLA as this is a broader issue. For example, the Ajisen in the San Francisco Center on Market St. is similarly dumbed. Likewise for the branch of Sam Woo that was once located in the Metro Center in Costa Mesa, and apparently the Happy Family in Costa Mesa.
Yep, I've been too, and beef rolls are still great. Also, they have the "green sauce", which is the cilantro/sesame oil/chili mixture that is so good. You have to ask for it, but they gave me as much as I want. Service is really nice and they have been very accomodating and willing to please each time I've been.
We did get a bit of the minced chicken, and I found it OK but my son liked it a lot, so as ipse points out, its clearly for westside (aka 7 year old) tastes.
Dan Dan Mian, though, is gone. I never even tried it, though others found it wanting.
I still think that nearly everybody walking by has no idea what the restaurant is doing or offering. It is only the "noodle" in the name which even stops them and gets them to look at the menu. I think its a tough problem, IMO overcome only with sampling and that old fashioned art of "busking"...
But this remains the place I eat whenever I'm in the mall, and happily so.
I visited back in October/November in order to check out the oddly random Chinese inroads in that mall (Bird Pick, the non-Chinese extension of Wing Hop Fung in Monterey Park and 101 Noodle Express).
Even back then, I was confused by that Grand Opening banner which, at that time, was advertising 20% off through mid November. (They had already been open for several months at that point). Interesting that it's still up.
I too asked about dumplings as they were not serving them. No answer. The menu was bizarre-- it was essentially 101's take on Panda Express, with the bizarre addition of beef rolls. I can see that they're trying to find their niche in that market. But really, what's wrong with focusing on only making excellent dumplings, noodles and beef rolls- all of which are not unusual or strange to a non-Chinese crowd?