Recently, a gnarly cold bug has wreaked havoc on New Yorkers, making sinuses as congested as the FDR at rush hour. Thankfully, Grub Street has discovered sinus salvation. A couple weeks ago, proprietor Liang Pi brought a branch of his Flushing-based Xi’an Famous Foods to Manhattan’s Chinatown, opening in a cubbyhole beneath the Manhattan Bridge. Though small in space (there’s a counter wide enough for two diners), Xi’an features the same bold, vibrant flavors that made it a must for outer-borough adventurers: tangy, spicy cold noodles, fragrant cumin-lamb sandwiches, and our favorite fiery medicine, the hot-oil noodles.
Don’t let the bland name dissuade you. A cook rolls and stretches dough into fat, asymmetrical noodles, then they’re boiled al dente. They’re plopped into a Styrofoam container, liberally slicked with incendiary chili oil, and topped with bean sprouts and bok choy. One bite, and your tongue and lips will hum. Two bites, and your sinuses will open like a burst dam. Naturally, extra napkins are provided upon request.
Xi’an Famous Foods, 88 East Broadway No. 106, nr. Forsyth St.; No phone.