Long after most of Chinatown’s restaurants have retired their woks and set their tea pots out to dry overnight, Great N.Y. Noodletown’s chefs remain poised, carving up meat until the sun comes up… or just about. A mix of locals, foodies, hungry drunks and exhausted chefs fill the restaurant’s crowded tables, all aching for an the perfect late night meal. And all of them will find it.
N.Y Noodletown’s interior is tiny, and we suspect multiple fire codes are broken nearly every hour of the restaurant’s existence – expect to be packed into this place like, well, New Yorkers. The expansive menu is placed underneath your table’s plastic top, for your convenience, of course. Take our advice – don’t put anything on the table until you’ve fully explored all your options. Words With Friends can wait – this menu deserves to be studied long and hard.
Noodletown is famous for its barbecued meats and its noodles, among other things. In an effort to travel every avenue of this restaurant, we decided to try, well, just about every kind of meat they offered. We started with the duck roll, 2 for $4.50. Handfuls of chives are stuffed around a large, succulent piece of barbecued duck and fried just the way Chinese rolls should be.
Whether you care to admit it or not, everyone imagines what the baby version of an animal tastes like at one point or another. Lucky for us, Noodletown’s staple dish offers just that opportunity – barbecued baby pig on rice, $8.50. Deliciously seasoned baby pig skin clings onto one of the most tender bites of pig you’re like to have in your lifetime. If you can get past the inescapable thought of newborn baby pigs being led to Noodletown’s kitchen, it’s well worth the guilt trip.
If you’re having trouble deciding between two, or even three meats, Noodletown offers an escape – the ‘combination of any three items on rice’ – for just $6.75 Choose between pig, duck, pork, and chicken. A veritable pie chart of barbecued proteins will be hand delivered to you on a steaming bed of fresh rice. If you can’t tell which part of the pig (or duck… or chicken) you’re eating, don’t worry – it’s probably okay. The barbecued sauces and intense spices shine here.
And of course, no trip to Great N.Y. Noodletown is complete without sampling the noodles. Their true speciality are wide noodles, Cantonese style. Since you’ve eaten several pounds of meat at this point in the evening, why not take it easy for the noodle-laden portion of feast – try the mushroom with E-Foo noodle, just $9.50. The dish will easily serve your entire group, and the table next to you, if you feel like making some new friends. The “wide” noodles are exceptionally chewy, and the mushrooms perfectly cooked.
Anthony Bourdain spent a decent portion of his New York City-themed episode of “The Layover” championing the true beauty of a late-night trip to this dive-y food joint. A rule of thumb in Chinatown – never judge a restaurant by its Department of Health Rating, or the beauty of its interior. It’s never been easier to follow. Noodletown is as good a meal as you’ll find in this good city, and whether you remember the experience or not, trust us – you loved it.