Friday, September 27, 2013
House of Xian Dumpling: From An Under-construction Menu, A Well-built Bowl Of Beef Tendon Noodles
House of Xian Dumpling's menu, at least as printed (and I say that advisedly) looks like a culinary map of China, especially Northern China, with Xi'an, Sichuan, Beijing, Shanghai and Shandong specialties that I could immediately spot, and even a few Cantonese Golden Oldies for completeness' (and tourism's) sake. I say "advisedly," because some portions of the menu have yet to be implemented. I asked specifically about the xiao long bao, shengjian bao, and xian doujiang from the "Dim Sum" portion of the menu, and they weren't ready with any of them, nor with skewers from the "Hot Appetizers" menu. It may be a case of "first design a menu then find the talent" (which certainly has been done before), and since they went to the expense of printing the menu in full-color, I'm assuming they are committed to it. In any event, they were ready with the noodles and dumplings, and noodles were what I was there for.
My noodles came to my table with an aromatic blast which reminded me more of a Taiwanese beef noodle soup than anything from Xi'an. Tasting the broth, I found the slightly medicinal spicing sharp and nicely balanced, and a default chili heat that didn't beg for augmentation. The beef tendon, accompanied by a few stalks of bok choy, was tender, by and large, though a couple of the larger chunks were on the chewy side. As for the noodles, they were cooked just right, retaining a slight chewiness from start to finish, and as pleasing to the palate as only freshly-made wheat noodles can be. At $6.95 for a bowl the size of a "large" pho serving, it was an ample lunch on its own, and something I will happily return for.
Now about that apostrophe.....
Where slurped: House of Xian Dumpling, 925 Kearny St., San Francisco.
*西安手拉麵饺子館 ("Xi'an hand-pulled noodle and dumpling shop")