Monday, November 4, 2013
Warming Up with Biang Noodles
With the changing weather lately, it's really beginning to feel like fall. And while some people like it and think it's been a long time coming, I'm sad to say goodbye to the mild weather.
The good part to all of this is that eating heartier, warmer food will now become a regular part of our repertoire, and I've started this during the weekend, when my brother Peter and I tried Biang!, a traditional Chinese noodle shop in Flushing. Not only did it hit the spot, but the service and the price point were just right. We'll certainly be back - and then some.
Situated in the heart of Flushing, Biang! is located just a few steps both from the LIRR and not far from the 7 train. This makes coming here really convenient for both city dwellers and urbanites, so there's absolutely no excuse not to try it :)
While the interior is quite narrow, it's long and still manages to feel spacious. Tall tables with stools and booth seating occupy most of the space, making Biang! well suited for casual, impromptu dining with one or two dining companions. Even though it's possible to dine with a group, I wouldn't recommend it, as it'll take you a while to score a table.
I liked observing the diverse crowd, which is made up of both Asians and non-Asians, alluding to its authenticity but also showing that it's approachable to folks that may be new to Chinese cuisine. Any way you look at it, it's a win.
Biang! specializes in noodles, and that's exactly what we came for. I myself prefer the more rustic hand pulled noodles, which are thicker and heartier, and I was glad to see these on the menu.
Mt. Qi Pork Biang-Biang Noodles - As soon as I saw that spicy and sour pork belly was on the menu, I had to have it. The whole dish reminded me of what I had just a year ago at Mission Chinese (totally overrated btw), but better. The noodles were thick and delicious and coated with a smoky, red chili sauce that warmed your entire palate, and your insides. Another comforting and unexpected element of spice came from the star anise, which made this dish fragrant and really perfect for the fall and winter.
Peter had a variation of these noodles as well that was done up in a similar style, except that instead of pork it had pieces of seitan and stewed veggies. Certainly milder than my noodles, but still with a bit of heat to them, Peter thought it hit the spot.
Spicy Cumin Lamb Burgers - Even though we ordered this dish as an app, our waitress explained that it takes a little while to cook the lamb, and therefore it arrived after our noodles. This worked out fine, as we took a respite from our spicy noodles and took a bite out of the little less spicy lamb. Compared to Peter's dish, the lamb was spicier, but when up against my fiery noodles, the spice factor wasn't too intense.
The meat itself was tender and flavored with cumin, garlic, and onions. Its overall look was pretty unusual, as I expected it to rest between steamed buns, but instead the bun was bready and slightly crispy on the outside. Even though it was different than I envisioned, it was really delicious and something worth coming back for.
Service and Cost:
Overall, the service was on point and generally quick. Even though a lot of the waitstaff could've infused more personality into their service, all in all, they did a solid job.
Costs couldn't be more affordable at just $6.50-$7 for the noodle dishes and $7 for 2 burgers. The entire dinner, including drinks set us back just $37 with tax and tip.
Biang! - 41-10 Main Street, Flushing NY 11355
7 Train to Flushing/Main Street