Did you know that a delicious mecca of Chinese food exists in the forsaken industrial district of East Williamsburg/Greenpoint? Across the street from a plastic bag importer which has comically large representations of its wares on the wall in the form of 5 foot sheer plastic cutouts that say “Have a Nice Day” which immediately brings to mind consumer-critical pop art like Ed Rushca’s Spam painting and next to an auto body shop is the only Brooklyn outpost of Xi’an Famous Foods. Maybe you’ve been to their stall in flushing or lunched at the counter in midtown? Maybe you’ve read one of the 5 billion New York Magazine articles about their to-die-for hand-ripped noodles? But this particular outpost is just completely bizarre. It’s literally in the middle of nowhere (67 Beadle at Morgan Ave.) For those not familiar with the area think desolate industrial park under highway overpass.
There are blocks and blocks of single story warehouses which range from produce importers to an aptly named “Rude Systems of Towing Incorporated.” I once looked at an apartment nearby at the intersection of Morgan Ave and Division St. and was terrified of the desolate three-block dash after Kingsland Ave. The only comfort was a neon “Hungry Burrito” sign on the first floor of the only apartment building in a 10 block radius. In short, this location of Xi’an famous foods is in a sketchy warehouse area, completely out of the way but actually only a 10 minute walk from the Graham Ave. L train stop. It’s open 12pm-8pm everyday. Make sure you bring cash because there isn’t an ATM for miles.
It’s an experience. And you’ll need an apartment nearby to eat your food in…or trek to McGolrick Park in Greenpoint (8 minute walk) to enjoy your hand-pulled noodles on a bench among the sycamores. There is a TINY chair and table outside (I mean so tiny it almost seems like they are mocking you) and a counter inside. Xi’an encourages you to eat the hand-ripped noodles RIGHT away since they are best fresh.
The menu is exactly the same as the other locations. My favorite dish is the spicy cucumber salad. Its dan dan-like dressing is like a spicy sesame explosion. I was too timid to ask what they put in it…
The spicy cumin lamb noodles are also a must-order. But they are wickedly spicy, so ask them to make them with “as little spice as possible.” I also love the Liang Pi Cold-Skin Noodles. Never have I ever met a cold piece of Seitan like this before. Seitan (not Satan) is a porous soy protein that soaks up the delicious sauce.
Oh oh! And don’t forget the Stewed Pork Burger. This little guy will cost you $2.50 but wow will you be kicking yourself if you don’t order 2. A generous helping of tiny pieces of burnt flaky pork is sandwiched between two Chinese buns. It drips oil but my god is it delicious…like the best pit beef you’ve ever had but with the salty umami goodness of a bowl of Ippudo ramen.
Here’s a nice roundup of things other people have said about Xi’an:
From Serious Eats
From NY Times
From EATER NY
I’ve also been to their new “upscale” spot in Flushing called BIANG!. I say upscale because they have tables and exposed filament naked light bulbs. But the menu is mostly the same (with incredible additions like a fiddlehead fern salad) as are the PRICES. Oh Xi’an you are so good to us.
Okay, that was weird. I don’t usually review restaurants on this blog. Maybe I should start?
Skip my blathering, here’s what you need to know:
Place: Xi’an Famous Foods, Greenpoint
Address: 67 Beadle St.
How to get there: Walk 10 minutes from the Graham Ave L stop
Open: Everyday 12pm-8pm
Cash only: YES
Dinner for two will costs you: $22.00
What to order: Spicy Lamb Cumin Noodles (not spicy), Stewed Pork Burger and Spicy Cucumber Salad
Drinks: No alcohol, but get the Sour Hawberry drink
Other: Bring your noodles to McGolrick park nearby for a picnic