Soup dumpling specialist Yaso is going hard on noodles, opening a fast-casual, Shanghainese noodle-focused cafe in Greenwich Village today.
Yaso Noodle Bar is now open at 289 Mercer St., between Waverly Place and East Eighth Street, with nine noodle choices and some assorted other small dishes. The noodle bowls are all dry, save for one curry option, and topped with various proteins such as lionhead meatball, ribs, crawfish, and tofu. Appetizers include spicy seared pork dumplings that sport a crispy bottom, pork and vegetable baos, and chicken wings. The full menu is below.
Yaso made a name for itself with those soup dumplings, which Times critic Ligaya Mishan said were “hard to stop talking about” with their slightly thicker wrappings that “protect the broth and cut the richness of the pork.” In that same review, Mishan praises the noodle options at Yaso, calling the cold noodles “exemplars of their kind.”
They’re the work of chef Zong Xing Tu, who was the founding chef of popular soup dumpling spot Joe’s Shanghai. He and partners Chi Zhang and Kevin Gu are also behind this new noodle bar. The team is building a mini empire, with Yaso locations in Downtown Brooklyn and Midtown, and one forthcoming in Jersey City, as well as this new Noho noodle bar and another planned for Midtown.
The restaurant is small at just 16 seats, set in a spare room with some modern nods in the form of a millennial pink pillow and a neon sign that says “Listen to your” next to a drawing of lips with a tongue sticking out. A small grab-and-go section sells packaged items from Flushing shop Toofy Duck, such as spicy braised duck neck, chicken feet, and duck wings.
Yaso Noodle Bar is now open weekdays from 11:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. and weekends from noon to 8 p.m.