Long’s Noodle House
Long’s Noodle House has been on my “hit-list” for far too long. It’s a tiny, easy to miss spot on Main St. between 32nd and 33rd with a great reputation for their Shanghainese cuisine.
We arrived during the noon-hour on a Monday. The restaurant was about half full. Before too long, it was packed. Our friendly server/owner, Sandy, was running the floor single-handedly. When I told her we were going to order about ten dishes, she didn’t bat an eye or even grab a pad of paper. As I reeled off our choices, she simply tapped a fingertip for each one. Amazing, really.
Our first dish is a must-order here. The Wine Chicken is served at room-temp in a beautiful ceramic crock. Chicken legs are poached in Shaoxing wine, broth, pepper, ginger and a bit of sugar. A great display of simplicity.
The Spiced Beef was an interesting plate. We spent awhile trying to discern what cut it was. It had the texture of organ meat, somewhat. After a few bites, I figured it was brisket, which was confirmed by our server. The spice mix made me think of pepperoni. Curious to know what was used in the curing process.
As usual, if Hot & Sour Soup is on the menu, it will be ordered! Long’s version, for me anyways, was on the upper end of the scale. Lots of ingredient…firm tofu and prawn, crunchy wood ear funghi and not too much pork in a very well-balanced and hearty broth. This one was spiked with almost enough chili oil and nearly the right amount of vinegar. A bit more of each and a bigger pinch of white pepper wouldn’t of hurt a bit. Not complaining, just looking for intensity. A very good bowl, nonetheless.
These here are some special dumplings…best I’ve had in a good while. Long’s calls theirs Small Wonton in Spicy Sauce. A nice thick ‘n chewy wrap surrounding gingery pork and crunchy water chestnut. After a dousing of chili & sesame oils and a big dollop of chili paste, these verge on sensational. Actually, no verging…these are sensational. A guaranteed order, every time.
As this is, of course, a “Shanghai Noodle House”, we gave the Shanghai-style Pan Fried Thick Noodles a whirl.
Pretty much what I’d expected…nothing too extraordinary. Good, chewy noodles bathed in a sweetened soy…a little wok char here and there. Crunchy cabbage, scallion and a few bits of pork. Nothing to scream about. Solid nonetheless.
The Beef Rolls were a little different from what I’ve become accustomed to. First off, I’ve seen lettuce used, just never tried one. Normally, it’s straight up beef, hoisin and scallion. Not sure why it’s involved and don’t care much…it’s all good! Secondly, the wrap here is verging on tortilla. Whatever it is, it works wonderfully! Much thinner than most traditional versions, a lot lighter with a great chew. All-round, great Beef Rolls.
In the midst of an overflowing table and conversation, we completely forgot to order the Xiǎolóngbāo.
In the middle of lunch service, with a crowded room, a server goes out of her way to make XLB. Seriously? When does that happen? Not your average, everyday XLB…she makes excellent XLB, on the fly! Perfectly pleated and loaded with delicious broth. There’s not enough credit to give.