Since I began planning this last trip to New York, I knew two things for certain. First, I would have one high end meal. Second, I needed to look for much more reasonably priced food for the rest of the trip. As I wrote earlier, the high end meal came in the form of a gastronomic overload from Per Se, but I was still working on the second part of this equation. While searching for cheap Chinese food, one name kept popping up, Xi’an Famous Foods. I wrote the name down and kept looking for more options but what really brought the name to the forefront was when I was watching old episodes of Bizzare Foods on my dvr. It was the episode where Zimmerman went back to New York to see if he could still hack it and one of the first jobs he had was pulling noodles at Xi’an Famous Foods.
All novelty aside, the hand pulled noodles at Xi’an Famous Foods looked fantastic. I quickly made a point to eat there while I was in New York. Sadly it wasn’t until my fourth day in the city that I was able to pay Xi’an Famous Foods a visit. Situated next to The Chinatown Ice Cream Factory, the Bayard Street outpost of Xi’an Famous Foods is rather narrow & unique location. Walking through the door, you can’t help but notice the newspaper reviews, stills from the No Reservation & Bizzare Foods shoots, and the picture based menu. You also can't help but notice the lack of a visible kitchen. With space such a commodity, the kitchen at this Xi'an Famous Foods location is located in the basement. So what you do is place your order and pay, your order is sent to the kitchen, and a short while later the dumb waiter returns to the first floor with your food.
Aside from the noodles, I gleaned from the reviews and stills that Xi’an Famous Foods is known for their lamb burger. I had no problem with a double dose of lamb so I paid for my order and the ticket was sent down to the kitchen below. Minutes later, my food appeared from the kitchen and I was ready for a lamb overload.
I came to Xi’an Famous Foods for the noodles and were they ever worth the wait. These noodles were thick and toothsome and almost seemed to be one giant noodle. Each time I tried to pull a single noodle, it was connected to the larger mass. It was little cumbersome but it made eating the noodles a fun challenge.
Accompanying the noodles was a fair amount of thinly sliced lamb swimming in a sea of chile oil and the slightly dusty flavor of cumin. Every bite of this plate brought a nice even burn of chile heat making for a hugely satisfying dish.
When I read about lamb burger in the reviews, I imagined a patty of ground lamb with a few Chinese accents, but what arrived at my table caught me off guard.
With a bun like a thick pocket pita and a loose filling of thinly sliced meat, calling this a burger is playing a little fast and loose with the word but it works.
Xi’an Famous Foods Address & Information