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Pete Wells Digs the Mixian Noodles at Little Tong Noodle Shop

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The Times critic settles on two stars for the newcomer

Little Tong Noodle Shop
Little Tong Noodle Shop
Nick Solares

The noodles at Little Tong Noodle Shop have left an impression on NY Times critic Pete Wells. In his latest, Wells heads to Little Tong where chef Simone Tong is specializing in mixian — a long, round rice noodle from China’s Yunnan province.

In his first look back in May, Eater’s Robert Sietsema said the grandma chicken mixian at Little Tong stood out amongst the other bowls he tried, here’s what Wells had to say about the same dish:

In the grandma chicken mixian, a dark and grainy oil slick — a distillation of garlic and black sesame — dyes and deepens a chicken broth that is already so full-bodied it’s almost sticky. Resting on top of the rice noodles is chicken confit, which, in terms of moistness and flavor, is the exact opposite of the desiccated, used-up meat typically found in chicken soups. There are spicy red bits of fermented chile, some salty and sour pickles, an egg boiled in pu-erh tea, and long ivory chrysanthemum petals. It has to be the most interesting chicken noodle soup in the city right now.

In a portion of the menu that is free of noodles, Wells is also surprised to find a few hits. He writes “It’s easier to see an American chef’s sensibility in the section of the menu called ‘little eats.’” He loves the “impressive flavors” in a Chinese broccoli dish, and the seasonal nuances in a stir fry mades with fiddlehead ferns, pine nuts, and lime-green spruce needles.

Wells notes that Little Tong follows a strict policy about not seating incomplete parties, but that the servers are “quick and sympathetic” when you do sit down. Two stars.