Perhaps against our better judgement, Rene and I decided to walk the Brooklyn Bridge last week – in the rain. See, it wasn’t raining when we left the house but it sure was when we resurfaced from the train station at Borough Hall. Luckily, I had an umbrella with me. As we trudged on, the rain seemed to get heavier and the wind more violent. But, we huddled under our solitary umbrella, ignored how squishy our Converses were getting, and kept walking anyway.
We weren’t just walking aimlessly. I had chosen that night as the night I would finally make it to Great N.Y. Noodletown – a thirty-year-old Chinese restaurant on the Bowery that has received countless words of appraisal from the greats like Jean-Georges and David Chang, as well as every food news source in New York.
I had expected it to be a greasy countertop, “your order number is 614″ kind of place, but it actually happens to be a sit down restaurant with aproned waiters. When we arrived, the place was abuzz with all types of customers, even a trio of chic francaises – now how did they end up there?!
Upon being seated, we were given a pudgy teapot of black tea and two little cups. The tea was exactly what we needed after our aquatic adventure. We both clasped our cups in our hands, trying to come to room temperature, whilst browsing the extensive menu.
The first dish we had was “Baby pig on rice” ($7.95). Since we were still high on the adrenaline we got from finally making it to our destination, we dug into it as if we hadn’t eaten for a decade. The baby pig ribs were roasted, resulting in soft meat and a crispy sweet-and-salty skin. However, the meat was pretty chewy and there just wasn’t a whole lot of it.
By the time our mushroom noodle soup had arrived, the high wore off and I was able to judge my food with a sober mind. The first challenge was splitting the bowl of soup into two smaller bowls. The noodles were very long and tangled into a ball (quite characteristic for a dish like this) and we had a problem untangling them. First we used chopsticks, then a fork and then one of those heavy white spoons. By the time we finally did it, we had made a huge mess and I had to ask myself, “Who are my ancestors?!” and “Why the f*** am I so inadequate?” Alas, I found the broth to be too salty and the noodles not unlike the dried, prepackaged kind. The shiitakes were the only things I found pleasure in eating from this bowl.
After the plates were cleared and I began to reflect on the meal, I realized that I was deeply disappointed. Great N.Y. Noodletown failed to meet my expectations.
But could it be that little old me is the only one who sees the light? Could it really be that The New York Times, Eater and Serious Eats all wrote faulty reviews? Of course it’s possible, but it isn’t likely. Have you been to Great N.Y. Noodletown? What did you eat and what did you think of it?