Happy noodles [San Mateo]
New 30 seat restaurant with a chef from Chengdu (Chef Zheng). Cuisine from Kunming , Guiling , Sichuan , and Chongqing according to a sign on the door.
The temporary menu lists 30 something items, including 5 dishes you can order with handmade noodles (the characters 拉麵 indicate hand pulled, I think).
Anyone been? They're closed on Sundays and Mondays.
153 S. B St, San Mateo
Just tried this place out - one of the most enjoyable Sichuan meals I've had (though that doesn't mean much). Fresh, quality ingredients - prepared well. Clean, modern ambiance, decent service.
The noodles are not hand-pulled but could very well be handmade - they've got the right amount of chewiness and smooth mouthfeel. Compared to most hand-pulled noodles, they're slightly wider and flatter. The craze over hand-pulled noodles is a little misguided in my opinion - it used to be that you pretty much had to get hand-pulled noodles to have the right texture and mouthfeel. But these days, other methods seem to be catching up. Who cares how the noodles are made, as long as they taste / feel good?
In any event, we got the dan dan noodles, noodles with fish, and cucumber appetizer. Both were excellent (note that by default they come with rice noodles - you have to specifically request the handmade noodles). The dan dan noodles came with a good-sized portion of dou miao, which was a first for me, but definitely appreciated. The fish was fresh - always a concern with Sichuan restaurants. The noodles did soften up a little as the meal went on - not sure what they can do about that though (maybe I just need to eat faster). Cucumbers were really good - served with copious chili peppers and peppercorn husks, but mostly for decoration (it was barely spicy).
Their "handmade noodles" is not really handmade. Machine made in a supplier factory off-site. Their dishes have authentic sounding names but are not at all authentic. Authentic sounding names draws in the crowd and higher prices. Just OK if you're in the nabe and desperate for food.