Last Sunday, I met my friends Miya, Jordan and Emi for lunch at the new East Village outpost of Flushing favorite Xi'an Famous Foods. Being a very naughty foodie, I've yet to make it out to the Flushing location, so this was my first visit, full-stop.
We arrived right at opening - not on purpose; we'd simply planned to meet up at noon, which turns out to be when Xi'an opens on Sundays - and made our way inside to gaze at the illustrated menu hung on the wall. We placed our orders, paid the incredibly reasonable bill ($7 for a plate of noodles and a soda) and sat down to wait for our food to be made.
The Xi'an space is spare and minimal, just ten chairs and a couple of tables lined up in a small room. Luckily, if you need to carry out, Stuyvesant Square isn't too far north, and the benches outside St. Mark's in the Bowery are just a couple of blocks away. We were lucky enough to snag three seats - Emi, you see, is 14 months old, and can snuggle on various laps when need be.
Our noodles arrived piping hot, served on styrofoam plates. I ordered the delightfully named Spicy & Tingly Beef noodles, a of chewy, hand-pulled flat noodles dressed in a spicy, beefy broth and topped with a few chunks of meltingly tender meat. Celery and scallions added a bit of vegetal bite to the tangle of noodles and beef. All in all, it was one of the most satisfying - and slightly messy, what with spicy broth splashing everywhere - plates of food I've eaten in a while.
And, a note for those who don't care for spice: since Jordan and Miya were sharing their lunch with Emi, they asked for, and were cheerfully given, noodles without any added spiciness. So if you just like really good noodles, but don't care for heat, don't let Xi'an's spicy reputation keep you away.
Xi'an Famous Foods
81 St. Mark's Place (at First Avenue)