Super Taste and super-cheap.

Coming back after a few reviews of places that are out of my grasp both financially and longitudinally, Sietsema graced us last week with a review of Super Taste Restaurant on Eldridge St. – his column suggests that the noodles might be the best you’ll have in your life.  Not sure I’ve been alive long enough to formulate an opinion of that nature, but I was certainly going to check the place out.  Having done so, I feel comfortable predicting Super Taste’s inclusion on Sietsema’s 2006 Cheap List, should he produce one in a format similar to this year’s.

Super Taste is certainly a lot more humble than my other favorite noodle places – just a few Formica tables in a ground-level tenement space, kitchen in the semi-separated rear.  I think there’s good reason for a redesign – beyond the abysmal (check out the truly bizarre musical clock) décor, the noodle-making process is fascinating.  Check out how the dough is stretched (or, if you prefer to stick to menu terminology, hand-pulled), slapped to the table in a puff of flour and folded or twisted – repeated until noodle shapes appear.  I don’t completely understand how the noodles are generated – I guess the flour eventually reduces how much the dough will stick together?  Regardless, the process is well worth watching, at least until the waitress shoos you back to your table – it’s like making a bizarro pie crust, kinda.

As Sietsema suggests, this description only applies to the left side of the menu, advertising hand-pull noodles.  I’ve tried the spicy and non-spicy beef varieties, as well as the dumpling soup (all $4).  The spicy version differs only in the application of chili oil to the bottom of the bowl before the soup is ladled in.  For both, the beef that’s included is riddled with fat, but is extremely tasty and non-gristly.  The soup itself is extremely flavorful, putting the average beef broth to shame – you’re not signing up for a bland meal by skipping the chili oil.

The noodles are irregular in diameter, but have a consistently fresh, well-cooked-but-not-soggy texture.  As to the flavor – they don’t, to me, taste specifically of anything besides their broth.  I can easily see these noodles in any context, though – they’d make a great accompaniment to homemade meatballs and ragu, for example, or as a dessert noodle with some sugar/butter combination.

On my most recent visit, the dumplings were not as good an accompaniment as the meat – they suffered a bit for sitting in the soup, I think.  Given their fresh and slippery noodle layer, they were tough to grab with the chopsticks without damaging.  For those on a budget who can’t decide between noodles and a plate of dumplings ($3), or for those who aren’t wild about fatty beef, the dumpling soup works nicely.

Far better than the nearby Hong Kong Station and at a relatively similar price, Super Taste is open daily from 11am to 10pm (unfortunately unlike the bakery on Canal just east of Eldridge, which has amazing yellow pound cake, but seems to close at 7).  Does it compare to spendier Rai Rai Ken or Minca?  Minca’s kim chi ramen, my new favorite there, is a swirling red-orange stew of noodles-in-broth, with Minca’s typical accoutrements – it’s damn good, but it’s twelve bucks!  Super Taste’s entry into the spicy category is far more humble, but at a far more pleasing price.  And I actually like the non-spicy beef soup at Super Taste better than the rest of Minca’s menu.  Score one for the cheapwads!

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3 Comments

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3 responses to “Super Taste and super-cheap.

  1. I already decided that I wasn’t a huge fan of hand-pulled noodles, but…uh, cheapness! Beef noodle soup! I think I like it more for a nostalgic factor than its taste, but it IS yummy. As for fatty beef, I’d rather have that than tendon-y beef. Is it weird that tendons make me want to retch while fat is okay? Hm.I’ve wondered about how hand pulled noodles are made. < HREF="http://www.saturdaymarket.com/chinabreakfast/handnoodle.htm" REL="nofollow">Oo, photos!<> That’s freakin’ insane. Maaan. Nooods. NOOODS.…noods.Eldrige kinda freaks me out. The only place I’ve tried there is Dumpling House. Maybe I should go ot more random places in Chinatown/”the East China Ghetto” (my friend uses that term…to differentiate between regular Chinatown and the more ghetto chinatown, har har).Next time you go fooding around here, take me with you! Rawr! (After I deflate from the holidays!)

  2. Hmm. Hope it isn’t, in fact, tendony beef – it wasn’t chewy, as I expected tendon to be, but I could be wrong. Wouldn’t want to make you retch. Noodles are pretty great, though.

  3. Anonymous

    The beef isn’t fatty. The cut is the shank. But yeah, it IS super yummy. $4? Amazing.

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